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Independent Federal Oversight to Ensure Health and Safety of Essential Workers 2021

  • RESET

Category:

EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS

Sub-Category:

Sub-Category: GENERAL

Resolution Number:

300.10.37

Club:

Calgary

Province:

Alberta

Year:

2021

Status:

Open

Background:

BACKGROUND: Since 1998 BPW Canada has shown support for the UN International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families (1990). The Cargill meat processing plant in High
River, Alberta has been linked to almost 1000 cases of the novel coronavirus and death of a female
worker as well as two male workers of the plant. This is the largest outbreak connected to a single site
in Canada. The plant is considered an “essential service” and employs 2000 workers, many of whom
are female, migrants and members of visible minorities.

Even before the plant was formally asked to shut down temporarily in 2020, 85% of its workers were
saying that they were afraid to go to work. The roles and responsibilities of the workers in these types
of work environments involve close proximity and physical distancing is not possible. Meat packing
plants are ideal environments for the spread of COVID-19 as the virus thrives in environments with
lower temperatures and environments with very high or low humidity. Air quality is generally poor in
meat packing plants, which often have inadequate air filtration systems.

Comments:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women
(BPW Canada) urges the Government of Canada, specifically the Minister of Employment, Workforce
Development and Disability Inclusion, the Minister of Health, and the Minister for Women and Gender
Equality and Youth to create an independent oversight plan to methodically evaluate worksites that
gather workers in large numbers, e.g., plants and factories, to ensure they meet the health and safety
standards in light of this global health crisis and to prioritize vaccine access, in addition to what the
provincial government is already doing, and to bolster workplace inspections and assessments

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Canada urges the Government of Canada, specifically the
Minister of Labour, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and
Disability Inclusion, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Minister for
Women and Gender Equality and Youth to provide a safety net for immigrant women, who make up
over 20% of the female population in Canada, and migrant women (temporary foreign workers who
often become part of the 25% of immigrant women in Canada) who by reason of their temporary
status are often excluded from accessing COVID-19 relief and other healthcare provisions, wage
subsidies and other income support and social protection;

AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Canada urges the Government of Canada, specifically
the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and the Minister of
Labour to devise a system where essential workers may report anonymously any inadequate working
conditions that exist in their places of work that put their health, safety and well being at serious risk so
that coordinated guidance can be provided through provincial collaboration.

©BPW Canada  www.bpwcanada.com

Article ID: 13341