CLAC Calls for Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment for Screening Officers at YYC
/ Author: Brendan Kooy
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CLAC Calls for Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment for Screening Officers at YYC

Letter Sent to Minister of Transport

CLAC Local 56 is calling on the Hon. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, to ensure the safety of airport screening officers and other airport employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Local 56 represents over 700 screening officers employed at the Calgary International Airport (YYC).

Screening officers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak. Throughout the crisis, they have continued to come to work to serve the travelling public and ensure aviation security.

CLAC has remained in constant communication with our members’ employer about additional measures being taken to ensure the safety of screening officers and their families/communities, but is calling on the minister to direct Transport Canada and/or CATSA to do more to protect these workers.

There are two safety measures that can and should be taken immediately to protect screening officers: the issuance of face masks and the consistent provision of alcohol-based sanitizer.

  1. We have asked YYC repeatedly if and when face masks will be given to those working at screening checkpoints. The employer has stated that face masks have not been distributed by CATSA and/or screening contractors to screening officers at any Canadian airport to date, citing information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) that most masks are not effective. This is of little comfort to our members working on the front lines, putting themselves and by extension, their families and communities, at risk. Screening officers deserve to be provided with the N-95 masks worn by healthcare workers to protect them against COVID-19, which can be transmitted via airborne particles. Not only would this help keep screening officers safe from contracting COVID-19, but in the event that a screening officer has COVID-19, but is not displaying symptoms yet, it would keep the travelling public safe as they make their way through security screening checkpoints.
  2. YYC screening officers have reported many instances where alcohol-based sanitizer has not been consistently available to them and passengers going through security screening checkpoints. At times, there has been no sanitizer available; at other times, only non-alcohol-based sanitizer has been available. It has been reported that sanitizer must be alcohol-based to be effective against COVID-19. While responsibility for this issue includes the employer and the YYC Airport Authority, we are calling upon CATSA to provide leadership to ensure that appropriate sanitizer supplies are in place. 

“As demonstrated by the words of the prime minister and the actions of the federal government, this is not a time to take half-measures to combat COVID-19, nor is it a time to take lightly the safety of frontline workers and their families,” says Brendan Kooy, CLAC representative. “Screening officers at YYC and across the country deserve better and more comprehensive personal safety measures, including access to face masks and alcohol-based sanitizer, as an immediate starting point.”

View the letter below. 

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