Today, the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 a pandemic as the outbreak has infected approximately 118,000 in 114 countries as of today (March 11). Right now, the risk of infection remains low in Alberta.
The health, safety and welfare of the more than 60,000 Building Trades of Alberta members across the province is top priority for our organization.
We want to ensure you BTA is currently in contact with several owners and contractors discussing the COVID-19 outbreak and ways we can work together to prevent it and prepare workers.
Right now, we’re pushing for heightened sanitation efforts at worksites and camps.
We’re asking those who have been to affected areas, especially China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan, to contact their local union then voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days, even if you’re showing no symptoms of the virus. If currently employed, contact your local union AND direct supervisor, then voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days, even if you’re showing no symptoms of the virus.
The Federal government has announced changes to the employment insurance (EI) program, waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period, which will allow those who self-isolate or quarantine to apply for support immediately if needed.
You need to practice proper cough and sneeze protocols (into elbow) and proper handwashing procedures (scrub with soap and water while singing all of ‘Happy Birthday’ twice). Use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water is not available. Also, refrain from handshaking and replace with an elbow bump, or a hand wave.
We will continue to work with employers to ensure worker health and safety is protected.
We’re all in this together so let’s take care of ourselves and each other as we work through this outbreak.
We will update members as things progress.