Kitchener-Waterloo

Some Toyota Canada staff to return to work early

Toyota Canada says some team leaders and maintenance staff will return to work early, before the plants re-open on May 1.

Workers will have temperatures taken before entering facilities, company says

Toyota Corollas are seen here being assembled in Canada in 2018. Toyota Canada says some team leaders and maintenance staff will return to work early, before the plants re-open in May. (Toyota Canada)

Toyota Canada says some team leaders and maintenance staff will return to work early, before the plants re-open on May 1.

"Some essential work must be done to ensure our facility is functional and safe for our employees when we eventually return to production," said spokesperson Michael Bouliane in an email statement.

"For this reason, some of our team leaders and maintenance staff have been asked to return to the facilities."

Bouliane said "a few hundred" management employees at the company's Ontario plants have been asked to return to work, but did not give an exact number.

He said the company will implement new safety protocols at its plants.  

Workers entering the facility will have their temperatures taken and fill out a "wellness survey," Bouliane said. They have also been given masks.

Bouliane said physical distancing guidelines will be enforced, and the company has ramped up its sanitization protocols.

'Should be done from home'

Lee Sperduti is a team lead at the Cambridge North plant. He did not return to work Thursday after failing the wellness survey due to minor symptoms he attributes to allergies. 

"There are a lot of people who are concerned about their health and well-being, even people who showed up to work today," Sperduti told CBC News.

Sperduti said at least some administrative tasks could be done remotely, via Skype or Zoom meetings, and he would like to see the company explore those options.

"It just seems like it's not really necessary for us to be going into the plant," he said. 

Fellow team leader, Brad Kapko agreed. 

"If it's work that can be done from home, team leaders should be doing it from home," Kapko said. 

Last week, Toyota Canada announced it was shuttering plants in Woodstock and Cambridge until May 1, with production set to resume May 4.

Two workers at the Cambridge plant had tested positive for COVID-19.  

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