As mitigation measures continue to be put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we need to mindful that energy sector workers face particular risks within their workplaces. Due to the nature of work in the sector – including frequent worker-to-worker contact and, for some, interactions with customers – there is an increased chance of catching the virus.
Unifor representatives must ensure that energy sector employers are prioritizing the health and safety of our members by implementing policies and procedures that aim to lessen the risk of infection. We must also make sure that any worker who falls ill or self-isolates due to potential COVID-19 exposure is protected from lost wages through full income assistance.
For ongoing updates on Unifor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as resources for Local Unions and members, visit unifor.org/covid19. New resources include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on COVID-19, a COVID-19 Checklist for income replacement, and information sheets on the crisis for each sector.
For the most up to date health information, please consult your regional health agency or Public Health Canada. You will find a complete list of resources including updates on the government's responses on their website: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
In the meantime, we expect employers to undertake a number of key measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the following:
- Following the most up-to-date guidance provided by public health officials and federal/provincial authorities.
- Communicating clear protocols on personal hygiene measures and how to practice social distancing with co-workers and/or customers.
- Implementing work-at-home plans for those employees who are able to do so.
- Mandating that employees returning from vacation self-isolate for 14 days, with full pay.
- Waive any requirement for doctor’s notes for employees who report sick.
- Ensuring employees who call in sick, quarantined or in self-isolation, receive full income assistance. This can include:
- For part-time workers, full pay for scheduled shifts that are missed; or
- For longer periods of illness (including a 14-day quarantine), full pay based on average weekly shifts over the 4-weeks prior.
- For employees that make customer visits, screening occupants for COVID-19 risk factors.
- Working with our locals to apply for Work-Sharing agreements to avoid unnecessary layoffs.
Our members and their families are depending on us to provide much needed support during these difficult times so it is vital that we remain vigilant and advocate for their physical and financial well-being. Thank you for your care and attention.
Executive Assistant to the President