Alberta health care workers call on their fellow citizens to help them push back against the UCP’s reckless decision to prematurely remove COVID-19 protections – AFL

“We’re tired of watching people die.”

The following joint statement was released today from a coalition of Alberta health care unions:

“On behalf of the more than 75,000 health care workers who we represent in Alberta, we want to express our profound concern about the provincial government’s recently announced plan to end the vaccine passport program, remove mask mandates in schools and begin treating COVID-19 as another seasonal illness like influenza. We believe these decisions are premature, reckless and irresponsible. We have no doubt they will lead to increased illness, disability and death. We also think they were clearly based on political considerations, rather than on science or the kind of concern for the public good that citizens should reasonably be able to expect from their governments.

Our members work in all corners of the Alberta health care system, and they have been on the front lines of the pandemic since the beginning. They want Albertans to know that, despite the rhetoric and spin coming from the politicians who run our provincial government, the pandemic is not over. There have never been more COVID-19 patients in our hospitals. Nearly all continuing care and long-term care facilities in the province are currently dealing with active outbreaks. Our emergency service system is overwhelmed. And, to top it all off, an average of 15 or 16 people are dying of COVID-19 every day.

All of this has left Alberta health care workers exhausted and demoralized. The decision by government to remove COVID-19 protections at the height of the worst wave of the pandemic yet is just going to make a bad situation worse. We are tired of watching people die and we are afraid these irresponsible decisions by our government will lead to more unnecessary deaths over a longer period of time.

With this statement, on behalf of Alberta’s health care workers, we are calling on other Albertans, our fellow citizens, to come to our aid. Health care workers have been there for you and your families in your time of need; now we need your help. We are too busy with our work on the frontlines and too exhausted from two years of dealing with the worst effects of the pandemic to carry the weight of public advocacy ourselves. Please support us by calling on the provincial government to stop letting public health decisions be set by a vocal minority of extremists who don’t represent the will of the majority of responsible Albertans. Specifically, please join us in urging the government to do three things:

  1. Reinstate the vaccine passport program and use it as a tool to encourage Albertans to get their boosters. This is the best way to keep people out of our hospitals and to reduce illness, disability and death caused by COVID-19.
  2. Reinstate the mask mandate for schools and continue the province-wide mask mandate until at least the end of the current wave. At the same time, the government should be providing, free of charge, higher quality KN-95 or N-95 masks to all Albertans. This is necessary because the science clearly shows that COVID-19 is airborne.
  3. Introduce paid sick leave for all Albertans. If workers can’t afford to stay home when they’re sick, we will continue to experience wave after wave of infection.

For the sake of our health care workers and our health care system, please don’t let the provincial government get away with these reckless decisions. Please don’t let the vocal minority run roughshod over the majority. Health care workers need you. Please speak out and push back before it’s too late.”

Heather Smith, President, United Nurses of Alberta
Mike Parker, President, Health Science Association of Alberta
Rory Gill, President, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Alberta Division
Misty Lafond, 2nd Vice President/Business Agent, United Steelworkers, Local 1-207 (long-term care workers)
Ryan Ermet, Regional Director, LiUNA 3000 (long-term care workers)
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour


Gil McGowan
President, AFL
Call or text: (780) 218-9888