"The WRHA is violating the Workplace Safety and Health Act by knowingly putting these home care workers at risk without informing them. Withholding this information puts other clients and the general public at risk"
CUPE 204 filed yet another grievance on Wednesday, October 21 against the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Community Programs/Services after a region-wide “Team Managers” meeting Tuesday, where managers were directed by their employer not to inform Direct Service Staff (otherwise known as home care workers) of COVID positive clients.
This directive has already been passed on to schedulers who have raised concerns with CUPE.
“That the WRHA’s direction is to hide critical workplace safety information from front-line home care workers is, in our opinion, illegal,” said Debbie Boissonneault, President of CUPE Local 204 representing home care workers in the WRHA. “The WRHA is violating the Workplace Safety and Health Act by knowingly putting these home care workers at risk without informing them. Withholding this information puts other clients and the general public at risk.”
CUPE 204 has been raising issues around access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for home care and other health care support staff including filing policy grievances at 55 WRHA and Shared Health sites.
What makes home care different from a hospital setting is that while a hospital may have “COVID rooms” or “COVID units” where staff know they are working with COVID positive patients, home care workers are one-on-one with clients.
“Home care workers are again being treated like their health and safety does not matter, and we have had enough,” said Boissonneault. “Home care staff have the right to know who they are working with, and whether or not that person is COVID-positive so they can be provided the necessary protection. CUPE continues to encourage our members to exercise their right to refuse unsafe work when appropriate”.