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  • Letter to the Hon. Patty Hajdu Re: New Health and Safety Guidelines from Presidents and CEOs of Chambers across Canada

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    May 8, 2020

    Hon. Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Health
    Health Canada
    Address Locator 0900C2
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0K9

    RE: New health and safety guidelines for employers

    Dear Minister Hajdu:

    Thank you for your continued leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the entire network of chambers of commerce and boards of trade across the country value how receptive the federal government has been to the needs of business during this difficult time.

    When the time comes to cautiously re-open businesses across Canada, the safety of workers and consumers must be paramount. It is for that reason the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recommends that Health Canada (in coordination with provincial/territorial health officers) develop updated guidelines for employers – alongside a public health campaign for consumers – on proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other health and safety considerations related to combatting COVID-19.

    For many employers and employees, this pandemic was their first experience with using PPE and/or meeting stricter health and safety standards. In the rush to acquire and distribute PPE, many businesses may not have had the time or knowledge to appropriately educate their employees on best practices for use.

    We therefore ask that the Government of Canada help businesses prepare for a re-opening of the economy by:
    • Developing education and awareness materials directed at both employers and the general public (e.g. what is appropriate PPE and how to use it, physical distancing best practices, suitable sanitation standards, etc.);
    • Encouraging provincial/territorial harmonization of future health and safety expectations to simplify compliance for those firms that operate across the country; and
    • Assisting companies to procure the supplies and implement the practices needed to re-open.
    Finally, we encourage the government to act on these recommendations as soon as possible. Advanced notice will remove uncertainty and allow businesses the time to develop cost-effective re-opening plans.

    We believe evidence-based and clear health and safety standards can not only ease the transition to re-opening the economy, but can re-build trust between employers, employees, and consumers during this time of uncertainty. Government leadership on this issue is therefore critical.

    Public health and safety are priorities for all Canadian businesses. We will continue to monitor and assess new developments pertaining to COVID-19 closely and work with our members, partners, and all levels of government to provide support to our communities.


    Sincerely,

    Val Litwin
    President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce

    Ken Kolby
    President and CEO, Alberta Chamber of Commerce

    Steve McLellan
    CEO, Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

    Chuck Davidson
    President and CEO, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce

    Rocco Rossi
    President and CEO Ontario Chamber of Commerce

    Hon. Perrin Beatty P.C., O.C.
    President and CEO Canadian Chamber of Commerce

    Charles Milliard
    Président-directeur general, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec

    Sheri Somerville
    CEO Atlantic Chamber of Commerce

    Peter Turner
    President ,Yukon Chamber of Commerce

    Renée Comeau
    Executive Director, NWT Chamber of Commerce


    CC: Hon. Pauline Frost, Minister of Health and Social Services, Yukon
    Hon. Diane Thom, Minister of Health and Social Services, Northwest Territories
    Hon. Georges Hickes, Minister of Health, Nunavut
    Hon. Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, British Columbia
    Hon. Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health, Alberta
    Hon. Jim Reiter, Minister of Health, Saskatchewan
    Hon. Cameron Friesen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living, Manitoba
    Hon. Christine Elliot, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Ontario
    Hon. Danielle McCann, Ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux, Québec
    Hon. Hugh Flemming, Minister of Health, New Brunswick
    Hon. James Aylward, Minister of Health & Wellness, Prince Edward Island
    Hon. Randy Delorey, Minister of Health and Wellness, Nova Scotia
    Hon. John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, Newfoundland and Labrador
    Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade