Canada’s Postal Service is seeking “clarification” from the country’s government after facing backlash for banning employees from using their own N95 respirators to work.
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Last week, the company warned its 64,000-strong workforce that “employees must use cloth masks or disposable medical masks issued by Canada Post,” or face sent home, based in Vancouver Global News reported.
But amid the backlash from workers claiming that N95 masks are more effective against variant Omicron, Canada Post issued a statement says the company is “currently working with federal agencies to seek clarification and understanding of their guidance” to “ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep our employees safe.” “.
‘Thought it was a joke’
A mail carrier working for Canada Post tells how he was sent home and “suspended without pay for the day” because of “the type of mask he was wearing, even though it was better than a mask.” of the company”, reports CTV News Winnipeg.
Corey Gallagher, whose wife is immunocompromised, told local media in the southern city that he “thought it was a joke” when asked by his supervisor to remove his N95 respirator him and replace it with an alternative fabric.
After Gallagher refused, “many supervisors” approached him to ask “if he needed a mask and then told him he couldn’t wear the mask he had”. After refusing again to swap masks the next day, he was sent home.
“This is a personal matter. I want to keep my family as safe as possible,” says Gallagher, the father of a child too young to be vaccinated. He added that he will take paid leave until the case is resolved.
In an email to CTV News, Canada Post said the company “fully supports” the official guidelines “and therefore requires all employees to wear the face covering provided by Canada Post, which is face coverings.” reusable cloth or disposable medical masks”.
“Canada Post will continue to monitor recommendations and best practices regarding face coverings and update our requirements accordingly,” the email said.
Instructions from Public Health Agency of Canada currently states that non-medical cloth masks can be used and do not need to meet any required standards. But the agency added that “while non-medical masks can help prevent the spread of Covid-19, medical masks and respirators provide better protection.”
The Canadian Postal Workers Union has called on the postal service to review its masking policy. In a statement for National Post Office, union president Jan Simpson said: “Research on the new Omicron variant has determined that it is more likely to pass through the general air than previous variants.
“The union has asked Canada Post to make N95 masks or suitable alternatives available to all postal workers and, at the very least, to allow those who have purchased their own N95 or KN95 masks to wear them. ”
The dispute has “raised broader questions about which masks provide the best protection”, said Guardians, and highlights “challenges that public health authorities and large companies face as they try to establish universal face covering policies.”
“Things are happening too fast,” said John Lynch, an infectious disease expert at the University of Washington. “Public health authorities really want to use science to make recommendations – but those recommendations have to apply to a multitude of situations.
“They are responding to science as quickly as they can. But that is not always communicated effectively and clearly.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/americas/955512/canada-covid-face-mask-split Covid-19 face masks divide postmasters and workers