Advice for Consumers

Advice for Consumers
Advice for Consumers

Search for a Mover

You can find a professional mover near you by entering your start location on our search page and then contact the ones you are interested in hearing from.  Or you can search, by name, CAM's member directory for local, long-distance or international movers, affiliates, van lines or suppliers.

 

Moving during the Pandemic

We are receiving a lot of phone calls from consumers wanting to have a definitive answer about moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no definitive answer. In all cases, ensure that you have discussed with your mover a plan and have a clear, understandable strategy in place prior to booking your mover. Make sure you have adequate liability protection on your shipment.

 

Each province, and indeed some individual cities, have different measures in place than their neighbour.  You need to work with your moving companies – in the estimate stage – to determine what actions are going to be required by you and your mover.  This is particularly critical when you are doing a long distance move that takes you across a provincial/territorial border.

 

Here's a tip sheet with things to consider to pack up your house and move safely during Coronavirus.

 

FAQs are below, but here are some short articles from recent media interviews. But note - since the situation is fluid, each mover is responding by providing a service that fits best within their capabilities. There are no regulations with regard to the use of masks and gloves. While most movers are using them, at least partially during a move, you should check with your moving company to see how they are protecting you and themselves while in your home.

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Below are some anecdotal observations that have been passed along to us that you may want to consider.

 

Are movers open for business?

CAM does not keep a running tally of which movers are open for business and which are not. While most of our members are open, some have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend their operations. To find a certified, professional mover near you, visit CAM's home page to access our mover search function.

 

I want to get a move estimate.

Many moving companies have virtual survey software and can provide an accurate move survey without having to come directly to your home.   Another option would be to have a Skype or Video Chat with your moving consultant.  You can also email or text photos to your moving consultant.

 

I am concerned about my safety on moving day and any possible exposure to illness. 

Ask your moving consultant about the workers who’ll be moving you.  Who’ll be handling your goods?  Have they travelled recently?  Have they had any recent illness?  Your moving company will want to know the answers to these questions as well.  At the same time, you should advise your consultant before moving day if you or someone in the home has been ill or have travelled to any infected regions in the recent past.  The workers will have their own concerns as well and will be taking precautions. Here's a short video from CAM member El Cheapo Movers Ltd. about some mover precautions.

 

I want to help the workers to take normal health precautions.

Wearing masks and gloves may not be practical for the moving crews or the customers when in the home.  There simply aren’t enough to go around. There are steps you can take while the moving crew is at your home. Thanks to Larry Kruger at McWilliams Moving & Storage for this short video on preparing for your movers.

  • While it is our custom, do not shake hands with the moving crew.  A simple “hi” will do.  Consider having a dedicated washroom for them to wash their hands; make soap, sanitizer or wipes, and paper towels available to them. 

  • Have your own pen handy to sign any documents, although many companies have gone to electronic paperwork.

  • After the workers leave, wipe down surfaces they may have touched, like taps, door knobs and railings.  Then, wash your hands.

  • And, as always, inform the moving crew as soon as possible, if someone in your home is sick, has been exposed to someone who has COVID_19 or has been in quarantine.

 

I want to move internationally soon.

  • Make sure you understand what’s happening in the world and where current restrictions are.  Things are changing rapidly.  What was safe today, may not be tomorrow.

  • Be patient – if you were planning on moving in the next 4 weeks, don’t try to rush it, rather postpone it, if you are able to, until the situation is more stable.

  • Help your movers help you. Be informed and prepare yourself for possible delays, cancellations, last minute changes and adhoc processes.

  • Use a registered moving company! This gives you the best chance to successfully move.

  • Be considerate – if you’re frustrated, imagine how it is for the moving company. This is their livelihood so they will do everything in their power to make your move a success, even if it doesn’t go perfectly.

 

So what if I have to go into quarantine or self-isolation?

You’re moving to a new province during the pandemic. Most Canadian provinces and territories have a 14-day self-isolation/quarantine ruling in place for travellers. Some provinces are much stricter than others, so check your new provincial rules. It is likely that your shipment will arrive in your new city before you are out of isolation/quarantine. There are options that you need to discuss with the moving company you booked your move with:

  • Assigning someone (who is not in mandatory isolation) to receive your shipment on your behalf.

  • Considering having your shipment “held” for a period of time so that the delivery occurs once you are free and clear of the 14-days. Most call this storage-in-transit. This usually results in additional fees.

  • Depending on the driver’s circumstance, and if you have only 1 or 2 days left until you get the “all clear,” you might be able to arrange to hold your shipment on the trailer. That would be a remote possibility, but worth asking about.

If you are isolating/quarantining in the home you are going to be moving into, then the moving company is under no obligation to deliver until you are passed the 14 days. They will need to confirm that anyone in the house is free of symptoms and that you have properly sanitized all surfaces in the home prior to their arrival. It would be prudent to wear a mask while they are present. Any charges incurred for the delay would be your responsibility. 

These are unprecedented times and flexibility and strong communication are going to be required by both the mover and the customer. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand all aspects of your move, including forced delays due to government restrictions.

 

How many people can I have in my house on moving day?

Many locales are enforcing no more than 5 people gathering in one location.  To minimize your potential exposure, many of our members have suggested that you have only one or two people in the home while the driver and crew are present.  You must maintain the 2-metre distance as often as possible.  Therefore, it is recommended that you have your children out of the house while the crew is working as kids’ natural curiosity will have them in close contact with the movers.  That certainly is challenging at this time.    We have heard of families that have set up their backyard for the day for their kids to be running around out there with supervision.

 

How do I prepare my home for the moving company?

  • Leave your items in the rooms that they are currently in.  Do not put everything in one room.  This allows the crew to work independently with physical distancing for some of the time they are in your home.

  • Disinfect all doorknobs, handrails, and bathroom and kitchen countertops. Do this before the crew arrives and immediately after they have left.

  • If you have more than one washroom, please designate one washroom for the moving crew to use to wash their hands.  Provide soap and a towel (or paper towel with a plastic bag to put the used paper in).  Please disinfect before they arrive and after they have left.

  • Have your own pen handy to sign paperwork, although don't be surprised if your mover has gone to all electronic documents.

 

Will the moving crew use masks, gloves and other PPE?

This is tricky to answer.  Moving companies traditionally did not use face masks or other personal protective equipment prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Therefore, when the demand for PPE started, suppliers limited the amount of PPE a moving company could acquire or only allowed them to access previous ordered amounts.  Medical PPE priority continues to be for the front-line workers in medical situations.  There is a strain on supply.  Now that more companies are producing equipment, the availability to movers may increase.  However, as has been noted daily by Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, regular handwashing and not touching your face are the two key measures everyone, who is not a front-line worker, should be doing.  As well, if a crew member is showing symptoms, they won’t be working.

 

What happens when you are traveling to a new province/territory and there’s a mandatory 14-day isolation/quarantine when you enter that province? 

  • You need to go into isolation for 14 days – or until you are 14 days symptom free.  If you are not isolating in your new home, then you can designate someone to supervise the delivery of your shipment while you are in quarantine.  Please advise the moving company who that person is prior to the delivery day.  You can always Facetime or Skype in to boss your friend around to make sure things go where they should.   It’s very important to clearly mark your boxes as to which room they should go into.  Some people are colour coding the boxes (with a marker circle) and having the same colour circles on a paper taped to the wall in the room at the new house.<

  • You decide to isolate in your new home.  It is very likely that your mover will not risk their crew being exposed to you until you are given the “all clear”, which means, it could be more than 14 days.  It is very likely that your shipment would go into storage (at your expense) until you are clear of any symptoms.   If you have replacement valuation protection on your shipment, it would still apply to your shipment until delivery in your home.  You might be able to arrange with your mover to pick up your shipment from your current home and hold it until you are ready to receive it at your new city.  But remember that regular transit timelines for driving across the country apply and your shipment would be booked for the next available truck going to your new city, so there may be further delays than you think.

  • You isolate in your new home and you want to deliver to self storage.  Your mover could deliver your household goods to a self storage unit.  That would be the end of the move and the mover would consider the moving contract complete.  If you have replacement valuation protection on your shipment, the delivery to the self storage unit would be the end of that protection arrangement and any damages or other issues, if not discovered at the time of delivery to the self storage unit, would not be covered at a future time when you had your goods moved into your home because anyone could have caused the mishap. 

 

Is there anything that ensures that my mover will be able to deliver?

The transport of household or office goods is considered an essential service.  To date, with thousands of moves already having taken place since March 15th, we have not heard of one driver who has had issues trying to complete their job.  On April 7th, Transport Canada issued a letter explaining that transport drivers are essential services.  The Canadian Association of Movers co-signed that letter and sent it out to all of our members so that each driver could have a copy in their truck in case they are stopped and questioned.  

 

CAM has also sent out a letter to our members which we encourage them to fill out, which identifies who is moving, where and when the move dates are taking place, and the precautions taken to protect the shipment and the crews’ truck and equipment.  Carrying the letter is not mandatory, but suggested as an extra step to ensure the passage of the moving truck.