NEB Statement on Comprehensive COVID-19 policy for events

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Renaud Gagné wears a mask while receiving a vaccination from a health care worker in a mask and faceshield.

In August 2021, the National Executive Board adopted a statement saying that all events, courses, meetings and other activities organized by Unifor National and Unifor Regional Councils would require participants to provide proof of full vaccination prior to arriving on site.

As a result of this statement, Unifor developed a Comprehensive COVID-19 policy applicable at all Unifor offices, as well as at all meetings and events organized by Unifor National.

As of today, many provincial governments have begun to lift restrictions that have been in place during the Omicron wave, and prior.

In some instances, they have done this in spite of scientific evidence and public health guidance that recommends a slow, measured approach to the lifting of restrictions.

A political approach to the lifting of restrictions, as opposed to a public health one, places the most vulnerable members of society, including immunocompromised people and frontline workers at increased risk.

The National Executive Board, like many, understands that the pandemic has lasted longer than many had expected and that there is a general sense of fatigue with the political and public health responses to the pandemic.

Despite an understandable level of frustration, as a Union we must continue to demand that employers take seriously their obligation to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all workers.

We must also recognize that solidarity in these times is expressed through concern for our collective well-being, through support for frontline workers, and through the respect of public health guidelines to get us through this pandemic safely.

We know that robust participation in the Union is important for building our union for all of our members.

We also recognize that it is our responsibility to ensure that participants at Unifor events and meetings are safe and it is our obligation to find an appropriate balance.

At this time, the Comprehensive COVID-19 policy will remain in place for Unifor offices, meetings and events taking place until June 6, 2022. In the case of Regional Councils and regionally-held events, the policy may be adapted to regional public health guidelines where public health authorities overwhelmingly agree. A higher safety threshold will be maintained for events where members will be traveling from multiple regions in the country to gather.

The National Executive Board will revisit this decision in June 2022, ahead of Unifor's Constitutional Convention and other events taking place over the summer. The Union remains committed to making any amendments to its policies and procedures using the best public health guidance available as we seek to balance our collective needs and obligations.