Toronto – May 11, 2021 – Canada’s union for food retail, restaurant, and food manufacturing workers welcomes the expanded priority access to COVID-19 vaccinations being provided to frontline workers in the grocery, restaurant, and meat processing industries in workplaces and provinces across the country.
In most Ontario regions, frontline food manufacturing, distribution, and retail workers and restaurant employees who cannot work from home are now able to register for vaccinations. Eligible workers who are interested in booking a vaccine appointment can visit Ontario’s vaccine booking website, where they will be provided with a phone number and website link that will allow them to book a vaccination appointment through their local public health unit.
Meanwhile, UFCW Local 175 & 633 members at Maple Lodge Farms and Maple Leaf Foods in Brampton and Fearman’s Pork in Burlington have been receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at their workplaces thanks to partnerships between their employers and public health authorities.
In Quebec, UFCW members working at Metro locations in the Greater Montreal area now have access to the vaccine due to a company partnership that is also providing vaccinations to family members of eligible Metro workers. As well, beginning May 31, UFCW Local 501 members at Keurig Dr Pepper Canada will be eligible for vaccination at the Saint-Michel vaccination center as a result of a partnership between their employer, the Fonds de solidarité (FTQ), the Cirque du Soleil Group, and other organizations.
In Alberta, UFCW Local 401 members working at the Cargill and JBS Canada meat processing plants in High River and Brooks have gained access to COVID-19 vaccination through newly launched worksite vaccination programs. The programs were announced shortly after Local 401 called for employees to be given priority access to vaccines following outbreaks at both meatpacking facilities this past year. Now, meat processing workers throughout the province have received early access to immunization.
In Manitoba, the government has now announced that all residents in the province over the age of 18 are eligible to be vaccinated. The province had already opened eligibility to food processing and retail workers earlier this month.
In Saskatchewan, the only food retail workers that are eligible, are those working in grocery stores with a pharmacy.
In British Columbia, grocery workers in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions have been given priority access for COVID-19 vaccination after months of campaigning by UFCW Locals. Grocery workers in these health regions need an access code to register for the vaccine. UFCW 1518 members who have not yet received an e-mail access code can contact the Local to obtain a code. UFCW 247 members who are interested in getting vaccinated can visit the Local’s website for updates on how to register for vaccination.
“Since the launch of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, UFCW Canada has been calling for governments and employers to acknowledge the risks that frontline members are facing, and the critical contributions they are making, by giving these workers priority access to COVID-19 vaccines,” says Paul Meinema, the National President of UFCW Canada.
“It is therefore encouraging to see the recent progress that has been made in providing UFCW Canada members and other frontline workers in the food retail, restaurant, and food manufacturing sectors with early access to COVID-19 vaccinations,” the UFCW leader adds.
“However, much more needs to be done to ensure that all frontline workers in public-facing jobs receive prioritization for immunization access as soon as possible.”
To lend your voice to the call for vaccine prioritization access for frontline workers, visit UFCW Canada’s “Show Your Support for Frontline Workers” campaign.