Component 1 Update: First confirmed case of COVID-19
First Confirmed case of COVID-19
Adult Custody Division (ACD) has confirmed the first inmate to test positive for COVID-19 at Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC). The inmate is asymptomatic but will continue on isolation droplet protocols for 14 days. Healthcare staff are investigating how many staff and others may have had contact with the inmate in recent days.
This first confirmed case reaffirms the importance of following all Provincial Health Officer (PHO) guidelines in your worksites. Familiarize yourself with those rules and if you are concerned that they are not being followed where you work, immediately notify the employer and a union OH&S representative.
Dean Purdy is communicating with ACD regularly to ensure that required safety measures are being implemented. Local 104 chair Brandon Cox, Local 105 chair Krissie Hayes, and BCGEU staff representative Brian Campbell are working on the following risk assessments with ACD.
- Isolation units
- Force options training
- Physical distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE)
The BCGEU is prepared to work with all employers at every level to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we will not agree to measures that fall short of directions from the PHO. This new case of COVID-19 at the OCC shows us that we all need to up our awareness and initiate strict protocols recommended by both the risk assessments and the PHO.
Ongoing OH&S requirements
Infectious disease risk assessments, with the input of local OH&S committees, should be conducted at all Component 1 worksites.
All staff must be provided and afforded the opportunity to wear the PPE required to keep them safe.
Audits of PPE supplies at all worksites to ensure there is enough for all contingencies e.g. codes and widespread COVID-19 infection in the workplace.
Further training to help staff identify and respond to symptoms of COVID-19.
Aggressive cleaning/ disinfection protocols should be in place and followed by everyone.
CIRT and CISM teams should be updated and prepared to manage increased mental health and fatigue issues. Mental strain can lead to OH&S mistakes, and all members need to be aware and seek help when needed.
Continued updates and transparency from the employer are critical.
Ask your local OH&S committee representative if you have any questions, or check out the BCGEU COVID-19 OH&S page at: https://www.bcgeu.ca/covid_19_ohs
Currently public service employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19, whether sick or otherwise required to self-isolate, are entitled to receive STIIP benefits of 75 per cent pay. Our union is advocating on your behalf to be able to receive full pay when told to self-isolate or when you become infected with COVID-19.
We also believe both Corrections & Sheriffs should receive fair compensation for danger pay because of the onerous conditions we have to work and having to respond to constant emergencies that puts us a constant risk to exposure.
Childcare for essential workers
Component 1 and the BCGEU have been pursuing childcare support for essential service workers, specifically Corrections & Sheriffs who are designated as first responders, and the BC Government rolled out a program for dealing with the issue earlier this week. Please check the BC Government website for further information: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020CFD0017-000599
Wage increase (2nd year of the agreement)
Reminder that a wage increase for all Public Service employees kicked in April 1, 2020, effective the first pay period after. Please see Appendix 3 of your collective agreement for your new wage rates. Correctional Officers in Adult Custody & Deputy Sheriffs will receive a 5.3% wage increase and other classifications range from 2% and upward.
The BCGEU and your component 1 executive is continuing to advocate for all steps required to keep you safe and secure at work, and will keep you updated on any COVID-19 related information important to you as it arises.
Raise any COVID-19 concerns or suggestions with your employer and your local union representative, or contact the BCGEU at any time at [email protected] .
Component 1 Chair & BCGEU Vice President
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