The COVID-19 pandemic presented Albertans with unparalleled challenges. Although Albertans collectively committed to implementing protections that shielded our most vulnerable neighbours from harm, opportunistic politicians stopped treating the pandemic as a public health issue and began catering to reactionary voices seeking to divide us through conspiracy theories and misinformation.
Meanwhile, the transmission of COVID-19 continues in our communities. The disease continues to hospitalize Albertans, and long COVID continues to prevent many people from working.
There is a better way. Together, we can establish a unified and evidence-based strategy to protect people at workplaces and in our communities from COVID-19.
- Return to treating COVID-19 as a public health issue and implement strong public policies that protect our communities and our health-care system.
- Return to treating COVID-19 as an Occupational Healthand Safety issue to keep workers safe and minimize the spread.
- Require employers to provide a minimum of 14 paid days of sick leave, to ensure that infected staff are not attending work.
- Implement a “vaccine plus” strategy by employing a variety of preventative measures alongside high vaccination rates to protect our communities.
- Empower health authorities to implement precautionary measures when scientific evidence about environmental or human health hazards are uncertain and the stakes are high.
Rather than continuing down a path of political division and polarization, we can work together for the safety of our communities. By viewing COVID-19 not only as a public health threat but an occupational health and safety (OHS) issue, we can implement elimination and reduction strategies to best protect the health of workers and community members.