May 12, 2020
Honourable Doug Ford
Office of the Premier
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
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In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Unifor has been demanding better protection for all frontline workers.
The tragic death on May 8th of Unifor member and PSW, Leonard Rodriques at Access Independent Living Services, along with COVID-19 outbreaks in several community care settings demonstrates that there remains a need to better protect those providing care. It was horrifying to learn from Leonard’s family that when he got sick, he was wearing a mask he himself purchased at a dollar store.
Not only did Leonard not have the PPE needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in supportive housing, health and safety measures adopted across these various community settings have been piece meal and inadequate. Leonard deserved better and so does every worker who devotes themselves to the care of others.
Our union is gravely concerned for all of these workers, whether they are unionized or not. While we continue to demand an investigation into this preventable tragedy, we also recognize that immediate steps can be taken.
These workers need to fall under the umbrella of protection afforded to other health care workers by provincial health directives issued by the Medical Director of Health. They cannot be excluded from these minimum standards because that will mean more will pay for such an oversight with their lives. We require rectification of their exclusion from these directives immediately.
I look forward to your reply and am available to discuss this further.