The OPSEU/SEFPO Disability Rights Caucus (DRC) is thinking of workers killed or injured on the job on this National Day of Mourning.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s more vital than ever that our employers and governments take all necessary precautions to protect our members and our workers in Ontario. Any loss of life is horrific. It is even more horrendous when we lose workers, and their deaths could and should have been prevented.
We must pass meaningful health and safety legislation to protect our workers and ensure they have all the protective equipment necessary to prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19. Paid sick days must be provided for workers exposed to COVID in order to prevent future spread. The data is clear, workers who are forced to choose between their pay and the health and safety of themselves, their co-workers, and the clients they serve put everyone at risk. The Disability Rights Caucus demands that Premier Doug Ford reverses his stance and that his government immediately passes legislation that will allow workers the opportunity to self-isolate, without any loss of income, when they have been exposed to COVID. The Premier’s position that the federal government income support should be used for this purpose is short-sighted and is not a solution that respects worker health and safety.
There is mounting evidence surrounding the negligence of certain employers who have put our members, workers and their clients at risk, (most notably in long-term care, front line health care and education) which has resulted in countless unnecessary deaths and illnesses, we further call on the federal and provincial governments to thoroughly investigate these cases and, if necessary, lay criminal charges against these employers.
We deserve workplaces that are safe. We demand justice for those we have lost, and we join their families in mourning the unnecessary loss of their loved ones.