Unions call on Ontario to reverse hospital policy allowing sick to work

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Unions are calling for the Ontario government to reverse its policy that allows hospital workers to return to work while infected with COVID-19.

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SEIU Healthcare and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represent approximately 100,000 healthcare workers, say the plan is dangerous for patients and staff.

The unions wrote to the premier, health minister and chief medical officer of health this week about their concern over the guidance that says health care employees can come back to work while still sick with the virus in some situations to deal with staffing shortages.

They note that Canada’s chief public health officer has said the Omicron variant does not appear to have a shorter infectious period after Ontario and other provinces shortened the recommended isolation period post-infection.

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The unions want the province to look at other alternatives like offering financial incentives for healthy employees to work longer, redeploying people or seeking support from the military.

The province did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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