Frontline workers should be given high priority for Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Union for food retail and manufacturing, long-term care and homecare, and security workers says frontline workers should be priority recipients for initial immunizations
Toronto – December 4, 2020 – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on, some good news has emerged regarding vaccines that could help combat the coronavirus, as multiple companies have developed vaccine candidates that are currently being reviewed by health authorities and that may be distributed within weeks.
The Government of Canada is in the process of reviewing four COVID-19 vaccines and is poised to release its guidelines identifying who will receive the initial rounds of immunizations very soon.
While UFCW Canada agrees that health care professionals and high-risk members of society – such as long-term care residents – should of course be a top priority for immunization, we also strongly believe that frontline workers in the food retail and manufacturing, meat processing, long-term care and homecare, and security industries should be considered priority recipients as part of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Workers in these sectors are putting themselves in harm’s way every day that they show up to work, and they have been at risk for contracting the coronavirus since day one of the pandemic. These frontline workers have also proven the critical contributions they make to meeting the day-to-day needs of Canadians, and they have undoubtedly earned the right to be protected from COVID-19 while performing their essential jobs.
That is why UFCW Canada is actively engaging governments at the federal and provincial levels to do the right thing by ensuring that frontline workers in the food retail and manufacturing, meat processing, long-term care and homecare, and security industries are given high priority for Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
In addition to prioritizing frontline workers in these sectors for the initial rounds of coronavirus immunizations, UFCW Canada is calling on governments and employers to provide permanent pay increases for frontline workers – including thousands of UFCW members across Canada – to better reflect the crucial contributions that these workers make to our society. And our union is also calling for the full and consistent compliance of all employers and customers with health and safety protocols endorsed by UFCW Canada and public health guidelines.
You can help frontline workers achieve fair pay and better health and safety protections by signing UFCW Canada’s petition supporting frontline workers. Click here to take action today and lend your support to this important campaign.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) is the country’s neighbourhood union, representing thousands of frontline workers in more than 600 communities throughout Canada. UFCW members work in every aspect of the food retail and manufacturing, meat processing, long-term care and homecare, and security sectors. To learn more about UFCW’s presence in frontline industries, see our union’s latest Annual Report.