The impact of the novel coronavirus on members

The ever-changing situation as a result of the novel coronavirus has already had many impacts on our members. Here is a brief summary of what some of our members are experiencing to date:


Many worksites have members who have travelled and are therefore in self-isolation. We know of one location that is monitoring 18 members.  We cannot emphasize enough the importance of hand-washing for your safety and that of the people around you.

Many people are also working from home. This has both pros and cons. Members are trying to balance home and work while surrounded by family. Many of us had never anticipated working from and are trying to set this up. Here is an article with suggestions about how to work from home.

For those who are deemed critical, your union is working with your employer to ensure that your health and safety is paramount. This includes getting any protective equipment that you may need to do your work.

Treasury Board

  • We are in discussions with many of the Treasury Board employers to determine who is critical. Note that the term “being deemed essential” specifically refers to the collective agreement process and is not applicable in the case that we are in.
  • If you think you should be able to work remotely, and are having push back from your employer, please contact your regional vice-president.
  • Accessing technology such as conferencing and networks is a bit of a challenge. Please work with your IT teams and ensure that you document your attempts to resolve any technological issues should you not be able to connect.
  • Where members must go to work, employers are trying to adjust schedules to limit exposure to others and have stepped up their cleaning procedures.
  • Some members are encountering difficulties with their middle management despite the agreements reached with senior management. If this is the case, please contact your regional vice-president immediately.
  • Parks Canada has closed all of its public sites. Those members who are responsible for water management are considered critical.
  • Protocols have been put in place for our lightkeeper members, whose work is isolating by nature, to receive delivery of needed supplies as well as movement on and off the lightstations.

Private Sector

  • As announced by the Prime Minister, all ports are open. We ask our members there that, if they have any concerns, to please contact their regional vice-presidents right away.
  • Members at Northern Transportation Company Limited are deemed critical however can be absent for looking after someone who is sick or if they themselves are ill.
  • For our airport, with the reduction and cancellation of flights, means little work for our members. Many of the administrative and non-essential personnel are working from home for now. Some employers have indicated that if this situation is prolonged, they will need to look at work sharing. Members at Swissport Inc have already experienced a 50% layoff. Many of the airports are working with the union to find ways to avoid possible staff reductions.
  • It is only reasonable to expect that employers are looking at the impact on their organizations and we have all heard of many who have laid off workers. Know that, if this is the case with our members, your union will be enforcing any layoff rights as written in your collective agreement.

During this period of instability, your union is doing its best to have contact with the more than 50 employers for which you work. While COVID-19 is evolving across Canada, we are trying to find ways to ensure it has minimal impact on your health and your work.

If you have any questions or concerns about a situation in your workplace or a grievance, please contact your regional vice-presidents.


Union of Canadian Transportation Employees

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