Health workers are on the front lines fighting infectious illness; they deserve to be kept safe. Yet Canada has repeatedly failed to learn the lessons of SARS and protect against potential airborne transmission of new pathogens. Canada must enshrine the precautionary principle and make sure workers are better protected.
Canada has among the highest rates of COVID-19 infection of health care workers in the world. For nurses on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is literally a matter of life and death. Throughout the pandemic, the CFNU has been leading the charge demanding Canada’s federal guidelines be changes to follow the precautionary principle and properly protect health workers from potential airborne transmission. As the SARS Commission taught us, when the science on novel viruses is uncertain, we must be safe, not sorry, and protect workers with N95 respirators or a higher level of protection.
As we prepare for future waves of infection, health care workers continue to be asked to take enormous risks to protect the public, often with inadequate workplace protections and insufficient PPE to perform their jobs.
You can help by urging the federal government to step up its efforts to support the frontline workers who are protecting the Canadian public during the COVID-19 pandemic.