A coalition of unions representing more than 40,000 health care workers is launching a new campaign today, asking Nova Scotians to call on government to sign an important protocol to provide proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to our province’s frontline healthcare workers.
Provincial governments and employers in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta have signed similar protocol agreements. The five unions involved in the campaign – NSNU, NSGEU, CUPE, Unifor and IUOE Local 727 – have been calling on Premier Stephen McNeil to sign onto a similar protocol since the COVID-19 pandemic reached Nova Scotia.
Frontline workers are most at risk of contracting the virus, because they work closely with infected clients, residents and patients. This means that not only are they at-risk without access to proper PPE, but they also risk spreading the virus to their loved ones at home and within the greater community. Furthermore, if these workers get sick, there will be fewer skilled workers available to care for the sick and vulnerable in the pre-hospital setting, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and even to deliver home care services.
These frontline workers have been desperately calling for proper PPE – including N95 masks, where appropriate – since day one of this crisis.
As a show of good faith and respect for frontline workers, unions representing these health care workers are calling on government to sign onto the protocol, as requested two weeks ago.
It’s time for the Nova Scotia government to follow the lead of Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and New Brunswick by agreeing to ensure adequate health and safety controls for frontline workers, and allowing health care professionals to use a risk assessment to determine the controls necessary in the line of duty.
The unions and workers are not government’s adversaries in this fight. We have a common enemy: COVID-19. We all want to protect our vulnerable seniors and brave frontline workers. Our members are telling us what is happening on the frontline, and they are gravely concerned and need our support and protection.
Protect these workers, so they can protect us. Visit protectnsfrontline.ca