Your Health Comes First: Delivering the Mail during Wildfires

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Friday August 31 2018

Dear Sister and Brothers,

Wildfires have spread through many communities across Canada this summer. The thick smoke has severely minimized the air quality in the affected communities and far beyond, making it difficult for our members, both at Canada Post and TForce Final Mile to do their job.

Canada Post has suspended mail delivery in some areas of British Columbia, but in most areas affected by wildfires, as well as the neighbouring communities, it seems the Corporation expects workers to maintain mail delivery regardless of whether the air quality poses a risk to them.

The Corporation has taken precautionary steps in locations where the air quality is threatened by the wildfires. A member of the Local Joint Health and Safety Committee (LJHSC) or a safety representative must be involved in making decisions based on the circumstances each day.

Canada Post will implement the following measures based on the Air Quality Health Index:

  • Each day, determine preventative measures to keep workers healthy
  • Allow workers the autonomy to decide whether it is safe to deliver mail
  • Employees who choose to deliver the mail will be provided additional support, including face masks, water, throat lozenges, etc.
  • Employees who choose not to deliver the mail will be provided with other work (inside duties, e-learning, safety audits, etc.). They may also contact neighbouring depots to see if they need any help

Employees who feel unsafe doing their jobs due to the poor air quality, should speak to their local health and safety representative or a member the LJHSC.

Workers can exercise their right to refuse to work under these conditions at any time. Urban members can refer to clause 33.13 of the collective agreement, and RSMCs and private sector unit members are governed by the health and safety provisions of the Canada Labour Code.

Any disagreement or issue that cannot be resolved by the LJHSC or the health and safety representative should be referred to the regional office. 

We urge all members to report issues pertaining to poor air quality from the wildfires.

Marc Roussel
National Union Representative - Health and Safety