National Newswatch
National Opinion Centre

RE: New health and safety guidelines for employers

Dear Minister Hajdu:

Thank you for your continued leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the entire network of chambers of commerce and boards of trade across the country value how receptive the federal government has been to the needs of business during this difficult time.

When the time comes to cautiously re-open businesses across Canada, the safety of workers and consumers must be paramount. It is for that reason the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recommends that Health Canada (in coordination with provincial/territorial health officers) develop updated guidelines for employers – alongside a public health campaign for consumers – on proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other health and safety considerations related to combatting COVID-19.

For many employers and employees, this pandemic was their first experience with using PPE and/or meeting stricter health and safety standards. In the rush to acquire and distribute PPE, many businesses may not have had the time or knowledge to appropriately educate their employees on best practices for use.

We therefore ask that the Government of Canada help businesses prepare for a re-opening of the economy by:

  • Developing education and awareness materials directed at both employers and the general public (e.g. what is appropriate PPE and how to use it, physical distancing best practices, suitable sanitation standards, etc.);
  • Encouraging provincial/territorial harmonization of future health and safety expectations to simplify compliance for those firms that operate across the country; and
  • Assisting companies to procure the supplies and implement the practices needed to re-open. Finally, we encourage the government to act on these recommendations as soon as possible. Advanced notice will remove uncertainty and allow businesses the time to develop cost-effective re-opening plans.

We believe evidence-based and clear health and safety standards can not only ease the transition to reopening the economy, but can re-build trust between employers, employees, and consumers during this time of uncertainty. Government leadership on this issue is therefore critical.

Public health and safety are priorities for all Canadian businesses. We will continue to monitor and assess new developments pertaining to COVID-19 closely and work with our members, partners, and all levels of government to provide support to our communities.

Sincerely,

Val Litwin
President and CEO
BC Chamber of Commerce

Ken Kolby
President and CEO
Alberta Chamber of Commerce

Steve McLellan
CEO
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

Chuck Davidson
President and CEO
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce

Rocco Rossi
President and CEO
Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Hon. Perrin Beatty P.C., O.C.
President and CEO Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Charles Milliard
Président-directeur general
Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec

Sheri Somerville
CEO
Atlantic Chamber of Commerce

Peter Turner
President Yukon Chamber of Commerce

Renée Comeau
Executive Director
NWT Chamber of Commerce

CC: Hon. Pauline Frost, Minister of Health and Social Services, Yukon
Hon. Diane Thom, Minister of Health and Social Services, Northwest Territories
Hon. Georges Hickes, Minister of Health, Nunavut
Hon. Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, British Columbia
Hon. Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health, Alberta
Hon. Jim Reiter, Minister of Health, Saskatchewan
Hon. Cameron Friesen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living, Manitoba
Hon. Christine Elliot, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Ontario
Hon. Danielle McCann, Ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux, Québec
Hon. Hugh Flemming, Minister of Health, New Brunswick
Hon. James Aylward, Minister of Health & Wellness, Prince Edward Island
Hon. Randy Delorey, Minister of Health and Wellness, Nova Scotia
Hon. John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, Newfoundland and Labrador
Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on National Newswatch are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.
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