AFL demands answers on behalf of anxious Alberta workers
EDMONTON - What is the UCP going to do about the many employers in the province who are not following government guidelines on COVID-19?
That is the question asked by Alberta Federation of Labour president, Gil McGowan in a letter sent today to Premier Jason Kenney and provincial Labour Minister Jason Copping.
As it stands right now, the government has ordered the closure of schools, universities and colleges. They have also mandated the full or partial closure of many restaurants, while many municipalities have closed facilities, such as, recreational centres and pools.
But, so far, Alberta has not followed the lead of other jurisdictions around the world in mandating the closure of all non-essential workplaces. Instead, Premier Kenney has said that measures to respond to COVID-19 in private-sector workplaces are “business decisions” that have to be made by individual employers. He has also said that he’s confident that employers will “do the right thing” and follow the advice coming from public health officials.
In his letter, McGowan says it’s clear that many employers are doing exactly that. But, he says it’s also clear that many employers are not.
In particular, he says that not all employers are implementing the three measures recommended by the Occupational Health and Safety branch of the Labour department. These recommendations are as follows:
- First, employers should engineer controls to minimize the spread of COVID-19 (i.e. ventilation systems, plexiglass).
- Second, employers should have administrative controls to change the way people work (i.e. staggered breaks, remote working).
- Finally, employers should have Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) available for workers.
McGowan says it’s not clear if these guidelines have actually been shared with employers, or if they’ve only been posted on a rarely visited website.
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