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Component 1 COVID-19 Update - Friday, May 1 - BCGEU

Priority testing and follow up 

The government's Occupational Health and Rehabilitation (OHR) department has developed a process offering correctional staff access to priority COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 related support similar to that available to healthcare workers. The process includes the involvement of OHR in the return to work of staff who have been off due to COVID-19 related reasons.  
Access to the process will be offered to staff who call in COVID-19 symptoms or report COVID-19 symptoms at screening on entering their worksite. Staff will be asked to complete and sign a form authorizing their healthcare providers and OHR to exchange confidential health information to assist with return to work planning. OHR will provide staff and supervisors confirmation of safe clearance to return to work. Personal health information will not be shared with BC Corrections. 
This process is voluntary and specific to COVID-19. Staff who elect not to participate will be directed to call 811 for testing and advice. 

WorkSafeBC Claims

The BCGEU recommends that members should file WorkSafeBC claims if they believe they were exposed to COVID-19 at work, if they are waiting for COVID-19 testing results and, of course, if they were infected with COVID-19 at work. Please be aware that WorkSafeBC holds claims filed due to exposure for 14 days or until a worker becomes ill before adjudicating them. These can be filed at the work site or online by the member. 

Pandemic Response Premium and 100% pay for COVID-19 related absences 

The BCGEU continues to advocate hard for fair compensation for all essential workers exposed to heightened risk on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date we have not received a response from government to our demands, but we will continue to fight for what is right to ensure that all corrections officers and sheriffs are fairly compensated for their daily exposure to COVID-19 risk in their workplaces.

As first responders, corrections officers and sheriffs work in the same kind of close and dangerous environments as healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, for the same reasons that frontline healthcare workers such as nurses are receiving a premium for their brave response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so too should corrections officers and sheriffs be fairly compensated for their unwavering willingness to go into work each day and expose themselves, and their families, to the same dangers. Corrections officers and sheriffs are both entitled to receive a pandemic response premium, and the BCGEU will continue to fight for this principle. 

New pay rates 

Be sure to check your pay cheques today. New pay rates which went into effect for the pay period of April 12-24, are reflected in today's pay cheques. 

In solidarity,

Dean Purdy
Component 1 Chair & BCGEU Vice President