April 16, 2020
TORONTO— A revised directive from the Ford government has employers forcing long-term care workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 but who aren’t yet showing symptoms to return to work, putting healthy workers and residents at great risk.
"The directive states that staff who have tested positive and have symptom resolution and are deemed critical may return to work ‘under isolation’”, said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Sending what we know are potentially infectious people back into the most high-risk and vulnerable institutions demonstrates a lack of care that really borders on heartless. Someone must explain to me how a front-line caregiver can work under isolation.”
After years of sounding the alarm about the severe deficiencies, shortages and issues in long-term care homes, and multiple awareness campaigns and meetings with the provincial government, it cannot be said that Premier Ford didn’t know long-term care homes would not be able to handle a pandemic.
“We’ve been pounding on Doug Ford’s door for years saying the same thing – fix long-term care! – and now a real challenge has brought all these problems into the public eye in a very sad and devastating way,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President and nurse. “Again, these COVID heroes are left to fend for themselves and again, I’m pleading with the Ford government to do what’s best for these workers and their residents.”
Unifor will continue to provide updates as information becomes available at unifor.org/COVID19.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, including more than 30,000 health care workers in hospitals, long-term care, emergency services, and community and social services. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For media inquiries or to arrange a Skype or FaceTime interview with Jerry Dias, contact Kathleen O’Keefe, Unifor National Communications Representative at 416-896-3303 (cell) or email@example.com