The National President of the Agriculture Union has reached out to the Honourable Chrystia Freeland to request an urgent meeting to discuss the pressing concern of the spread of COVID-19 in meat processing facilities in Canada.
Here are the recommendations:
- The CFIA must adopt a standard approach to the presence of COVID-19 in meat and other food production facilities that places the health and safety of those working in the plants first. At the first positive test result, the facilities should be closed for a 14-day period with workers receiving full pay to ensure only non-infected staff returned to work;
- Anyone accessing the plants needs to be screened on arrival and departure;
- Limits should be placed on the number of processing plants inspectors are assigned to, just as Personal Support Workers in long-term care facilities have been limited to working at one facility;
- Inspectors, veterinarians, and plant workers need personal protective equipment and routine testing for the virus;
- Because most meat production establishments are configured to make social distancing impossible, shift and production schedules, lunchroom usage, washup and bathroom facilities must be modified to maximize separation of personnel;
- Sanitation at these facilities must be vigorous.
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