Canada Post says it has begun testing an entire shift of employees for COVID-19 at a Mississauga facility after 121 workers there tested positive for the virus in the last three weeks.
In a statement on Wednesday, Canada Post said Peel Public health ordered the testing, which began on Tuesday at the crown corporation’s Gateway East facility, located at 4567 Dixie Rd.
Any employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be instructed to leave the workplace and go into isolation. Canada Post said it is also offering voluntary testing at the facility for other employees.
Phil Legault, spokesperson for Canada Post, said the corporation has been told by Peel Public Health that it can continue its operations at Gateway East despite the workplace outbreak.
Legault acknowledged that public health measures implemented at Gateway and across the country are affecting delivery service.
“The Gateway facility is central to our entire national delivery and processing network, and the COVID safety measures we have implemented nationwide are having an impact on our delivery service,” he said.
“These measures, combined with record-breaking volumes, will continue to have an impact on service.”
Canada Post said it has seen 1,034 employees test positive across the country. More than three quarters have been cleared and have returned to work, it said.
“Since the start of the pandemic, Canada Post has followed the guidance of public health authorities to implement rigorous measures to keep its employees safe,” Legault said.
“Canada Post will continue to work with Peel Public Health and take their direction as we work to do our very best to keep our people and Canadians safe.”
Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region’s medical officer of health, said the public health unit investigates every COVID-19 case in the region.
“If there is a potential workplace exposure, we work with the case to identify contacts and with the employer to ensure that they are doing what they can to prevent any future workplace exposure,” he said.
Loh said Peel Public Health will only disclose details or information about an investigation if there is a risk to the broader public out out of concerns about privacy.
Union says testing is tool to keep workers safe
Jan Simpson, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said in an email that the testing is a positive step by the corporation to keep workers safe and the union is involved to help curb the spread of the virus.
“The priority of the union continues to be the health and safety of our members, and the testing by Peel Public Health at the Gateway facility is another tool to help ensure worker safety,” she said on Wednesday.
“The Union is in regular contact with Canada Post Corporation and public health authorities, and we are working together to address the situation at Gateway.”
Simpson said postal employees are essential workers.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, postal workers have been on the front line, delivering goods, and helping people stay home and flatten the curve,” she said.