Urgent action needed to keep workers safe from Omicron variant: SFL

Urgent action needed to keep workers safe from Omicron variant: SFL

Today’s press conference by the Sask. Party government continued to ignore the many risks workers are facing with the most recent variant of COVID-19, and offered no additional supports to keep workers safe despite Saskatchewan currently having the third highest number of cases per capita in the country.

“As Omicron spreads across the province like wildfire, we need action right now to ensure workers are kept safe,” said SFL President Lori Johb. “Instead, the government’s plan is to wait until things get worse- a reckless and irresponsible decision that will have disastrous consequences.”

The SFL continues to call on measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, keep workers safe, and avoid once again putting strain on our health care system, specifically by:

  • Expanding access to PCR testing province-wide
  • Prioritizing booster shots for all front line workers, including teachers and education workers
  • Ensuring all workers have access to proper PPE, including N-95 masks
  • Reducing capacities in workplaces and provide supports for workers who are affected in addition to the Federal Worker Lockdown Benefit
  • Immediately enacting legislation granting 10 days of permanent, paid sick leave for all workers
  • Enacting presumptive WCB coverage for workers who contract COVID-19 on the job and contract long term illness.

“By continuing to do nothing, the Sask. Party has made it clear that they do not care about workers, and whether or not workers get sick,” Johb said. “They won’t even provide workers with the most basic protections, like N-95 masks and proper ventilation in classrooms for teachers and education workers when Saskatchewan is the only province in the country with students currently in school. The omicron variant of COVID-19 is a clear workplace occupational health and safety hazard, and it’s time for our government to step up and do their duty to make sure that workers are kept safe at work.”

Johb also encouraged workers who are feeling sick, or have tested positive on a rapid test to get an official PCR test if they are able to.

“Workers who become sick with COVID-19 but do not have official test results may have trouble accessing WCB, EI, or disability programs should they suffer long term side affects and require support. We must expand access to PCR testing to make sure that those who have become infected have official documentation as part of their health record.”