'Help us': Ontario health care workers appeal to Premier Ford
WINDSOR, ONT -- Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is planning a workplace action across long-term care facilities and hospitals in Ontario.
On Thursday April 9 at 11:30 a.m., a province-wide online media conference, including two front-line health care workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will make a direct appeal to Ontario’s Premier to protect all health care staff, not just some, with much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and speedier and broader COVID-19 testing.
The two personal support workers will share some of the day-to-day challenges and safety concerns, they and coworkers are dealing with as hospitals and long-term care homes ration masks, shields and other infection control equipment.
With the Coronavirus of particular concern to residents of long-term care facilities, CUPE says Ontario health care workforce is risking personal safety to care for the sick.
On April 9, throughout Ontario, hospital and long-term care workers will be joining in a second province-wide workplace action, to underscore their urgent appeal for personal protective equipment. They will be holding a simple poster showing a N95 mask with a simple message for the Premier: “Help Us”.
Michael Hurley president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) and Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario secretary-treasurer, will join the personal support workers for Thursday’s online news conference and provide an overview from recent polling of more than 7,000 health care members.
“We can’t waste anymore time getting help. We are calling on the government to order the private sector to ramp up production on supplies like N95 masks, facials shields, gloves and gowns”, Rennick tells CTV news. “We know some manufacturers across the country are stepping up, some of them quicker than others, but production can’t happen soon enough and we need the government to use their emergency orders to make sure supplies begin being manufactured immediately.”
Rennick and Hurley are urging the Premier to use the government’s considerable powers under the new emergency measures “to get masks produced immediately” by local manufacturers. Adding the government also needs to extend directives on personal protective equipment to cover physicians and all other health care staff.
In a statement to CTV Windsor Wednesday, the director of Media Relations and Press Secretary, Ivana Yelich states; “Our government has been working around the clock with manufacturers in Ontario that have stepped up in the face of a global pandemic to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and other vital equipment needed to fight COVID-19. We are working alongside our federal partners to ensure Ontario-based manufactures meet the standards set out by Health Canada in federal regulation. We will continue to exhaust every possible avenue available to us to ensure we protect our frontline health care workers against COVID-19.”