Canada Post sends employees home for wearing masks that are not company provided, even if they’re safer

Winnipeg postal worker Corey Gallagher says he was sent home for wearing an N95 mask and docked pay

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Canada Post employees are being sent home for coming to work with their own masks, even if they’re wearing one that’s safer.

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“The union has asked Canada Post to provide N95 masks or suitable alternatives to all postal workers and, at the very least, allow those who’ve purchased their own N95 or KN95 masks to wear them.

“As COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly, Canada Post Corporation should be doing everything in its power to protect postal workers, who continue to help people stay home and stay safe.”

In an email, a Canada Post spokesperson said the mask requirement closely follows the guidance of the public health agencies and “respected workplace directives from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).”

“Given the complex and evolving nature of the pandemic, we have strictly adhered to the guidance and direction from the health experts responsible for protecting Canadians from COVID-19,” said Jon Hamilton.

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“We understood from the start that they were the experts, not us, and therefore following their lead was crucial to keeping our people safe.”

The corporation said it’s seeking further guidance on best practices and recommendations regarding face coverings and will update its rules accordingly.

A Winnipeg postal worker, Corey Gallagher, has told the Free Press he chose to wear an N95 mask because his wife is pregnant and his child too young to be vaccinated, but was denied, sent home and docked pay.

A spokesperson for Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan told the newspaper that Canada Post’s interpretation of the rules was misguided.

“Nothing in the Canada Labour Code or Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations precludes workers from wearing a higher-quality face covering… if they would like to utilize a higher grade of mask or respirator,” wrote Michelle Johnston.

Canada Post is now taking steps to updates its regulations, the Hamilton has told the Post.

“We are now working with federal authorities to seek clarification and understand this recent guidance, so that we can continue to ensure we are doing everything possible to keep our employees safe,” the spokesperson said.

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