With 2020 in the rearview mirror, we share a renewed sense of hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be behind us. Two vaccines are currently in use in Canada with another vaccine soon to be approved by Health Canada however, we are not out of the woods yet. With the number of positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 significantly higher than we saw in the spring of 2020, it is more critical than ever to commit to public health guidelines.
Since the pandemic began, our union has fought hard to ensure your employer follows the rules when it comes to reducing COVID-19 transmission at work. As such, your employer is required to post a COVID-19 Safety Plan that provides guidance for workers to mitigate their exposure to the virus including information on occupancy limits, physical distancing, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE), health screening, and more. If your employer does not strictly enforce its COVID-19 Safety Plan as they are required to do by law, you have the right to individually or collectively refuse unsafe work.
Your employer is also mandated under the Worker's Compensation Act to provide workers with a safe workplace and to inform, train and monitor workers to ensure procedures are being followed correctly. Workers also have responsibilities under the Worker's Compensation Act including but not limited to:
- Taking reasonable care to protect their own health and safety and of others;
- To carry out their work with established safe work procedures; and
- To use protective equipment as required.
With many months to go before we see any semblance of normal again, it is more important than ever to stay the course. We encourage you to work together with your co-workers by following the procedures your employer has put in place. As always, if you have an urgent issue related to COVID-19 or a workplace health and safety issue, please inform your supervisor first. If necessary, contact your Occupational Health and Safety Committee representative, steward or local chairperson. Questions? Email [email protected].
Remember, ensure you stay physically distanced, stay home if you are sick, and use that PPE properly. We can beat this virus if we all work together.
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