Toronto

Canada Post forced to shut down 1 shift at Gateway West facility due to COVID-19 outbreak

Canada Post says it has been ordered by Peel Public Health to shut down an afternoon shift at its Gateway West facility in Mississauga due to a COVID-19 outbreak in its workplace.

Partial closure affects about 80 employees and contractors, Canada Post says

Peel Public Health has told Canada Post to shut down a shift at its Gateway West facility in Mississauga due to a COVID-19 outbreak there. (Oliver Walters/CBC)

Canada Post says it has been ordered to shut down an afternoon shift at its Gateway West facility in Mississauga due to a COVID-19 outbreak in its workplace.

Peel Public Health issued the order on Tuesday under Section 22 of Ontario's Health Protection and Promotion Act.

The shutdown affects about 80 employees and contractors, Phil Legault, spokesperson for Canada Post, said in an email on Tuesday night.

The Crown corporation has begun to inform employees that they must leave the workplace and isolate for 10 days. It is also contacting workers who were not scheduled to work on Tuesday.

"We continue to work closely with Peel Public Health as cases have risen in the community and are in regular contact," Legault said. "We have moved to quickly comply and notify employees."

Legault said the shift is in what Canada Post calls its Toronto Exchange Office, where 12 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last seven days.

According to Peel Public Health, workplace closures apply to businesses that have had five or more COVID-19 cases acquired in the workplace over a span of two weeks.

"Canada Post continues to provide voluntary onsite rapid COVID-19 testing to all employees and contractors at our Gateway facility. Any employees who test positive must leave the workplace and self-isolate. In each case, Public Health is notified, and employees and the union are informed," Legault said.

Corporation says it has paid leave provisions in place

Paid leave provisions are in place to support employees, he added.

"We will continue to reinforce our safety protocols with all employees, follow our enhanced cleaning and sanitization measures and follow any direction we receive from Peel Public Health."

Legault said "inbound international mail items" arrive at the Toronto Exchange Office for review and clearance by the Canadian Border Service Agency.

Canada Post is developing contingency plans to minimize the impact on customer service. He said anyone expecting international mail should track their items online and expect delays.

Canada Post is developing contingency plans to minimize the impact on customer service. The crown corporation says anyone expecting international mail should track their items online and expect delays. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Peel Public Health has ordered the partial closure of seven other workplaces to date, including two Amazon distribution centres in Brampton and Bolton. It has said any closures could last up to 10 days, and all affected employees must go into isolation during that time. They are not allowed to work in any other workplace.

The 10-day period will allow public health officials to investigate the outbreaks without the risk of spread of infection and to provide recommendations to the workplaces, the public health unit has said.

Dr. Lawrence Loh, medical officer of health for Peel Region, has said: "Workplaces that remain open continue to be a major driver of COVID-19 cases in Peel, as they have been throughout the course of our emergency response."

Loh said the closures would apply to businesses where those infected "could have reasonably acquired their infection at work" or if "no obvious source" for transmission is identified outside of the workplace.

Toronto Public Health, for its part, has ordered the full closure of four workplaces and the partial closures of seven others.

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