OPSEU applauds Ford government for testing asymptomatic OPS workers

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is applauding the Ford government’s decision to offer voluntary testing to a large number of front-line workers in the Ontario Public Service and LCBO.

“This is a critical step forward to help flatten the curve,” said Thomas. “Broad-based testing is the key to getting us through this pandemic as safely as possible, and this is a huge step towards helping the province establish some sense of normalcy.”

“You can count on OPSEU to help lead the way. And you can count on me to be right there at the front of the line with Doug Ford to get tested,” said Thomas. “I encourage other employers to also proactively support their employees who volunteer to be tested.”

The first phase of testing will be offered to OPSEU members working in congregate settings such as Corrections, as well as the LCBO. Other frontline areas will follow.

The testing protocol is based on four foundation pillars: first, that workers are assured their privacy will be protected; second, that the testing be voluntary in nature; third, that employees that test positive who must then self-isolate will, regardless of their employment status, not lose any pay for the 14 days of illness or isolation; and fourth, that contract tracing will include all employees who came into contact with COVID-positive testing employees.

OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida said OPSEU members can take comfort knowing they won’t lose out if they test positive.

“We worked hard with Mr. Ford and his government to make it easy for members to do the right thing and get tested,” said Almeida. “It’s the only way this will work.”

The testing will begin with Corrections workers, and OPSEU Corrections Chair Chris Jackel endorses the plan 100 per cent.

“This will go a long way to keeping workers and their families, along with inmates and the larger community, safe and healthy,” said Jackel. “I encourage all of our members to get themselves tested as soon as they can. It’s the right thing to do.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas 613-329-1931