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. 

Here’s how: 

  1. Return to treating COVID-19 as a public health issue and implement strong public policies that protect our communities and our health-care system.
  2. Return to treating COVID-19 as an Occupational Healthand Safety issue to keep workers safe and minimize the spread. 
  3. Require employers to provide a minimum of 14 paid days of sick leave, to ensure that infected staff are not attending work. 
  4. Implement a “vaccine plus” strategy by employing a variety of preventative measures alongside high vaccination rates to protect our communities.
  5. 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.