Edmonton must prepare for possible supply-chain disruption caused by COVID-19, councillor says

A city of Edmonton councillor is raising concerns about possible disruptions to the supply chain that could happen because of COVID-19.

The city has up to $7 billion worth of construction projects on the go, and a delay in obtaining materials could prove costly, Coun. Mike Nickel said.

“This is about procurement, and if material doesn’t show up, for example, guys get laid off,” Nickel said. “So you’ve got to worry about the whole chain, from start to finish.”

The number of reported cases of COVID-19 in Alberta hit 14 on Tuesday.

As the number of cases increases globally and concerns grow about the spread of the virus, the process to ship goods may become more involved, or ports could be shut down, Nickel said.

He put forward a motion at a city council meeting on Wednesday that calls on the administration to provide “an overview of risks being managed to contractor management, procurement and ongoing city operations as a result of potential supply chain disruptions related to COVID-19.”

City council passed the motion.

A report will be provided to council’s executive committee in April.

“You need to plan for the worst and hope for the best,” said Ken Kobly, president and CEO of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce. “The reality is, if people have a business plan in place, that will set their minds at ease for anything that may come their way.”

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has sent tool kits on emergency planning to all community chambers that will then share them with their members, Kobly said.

Business owners and operators need to start planning for what happens when they have staff who aren’t able to make it to the office, he said.

“Are their operations covered off? Is there potential for people to work at home?”

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