Employer requires workers to use company-provided mask only
A Canada Post employee in Winnipeg, MB, claimed he was sent home by his employer for wearing the wrong type of face mask at work, according to a report.
Corey Gallagher, a mail carrier, came to work on Monday after having some time off over the holidays. He was wearing an N95 mask, reported CTV News.
"Right away a supervisor came up to me and told me I can't wear that mask," said Gallagher. "I didn't really understand, I thought it was a joke at first, like 'Why can't I wear this when the ones you are providing are cloth.'"
Gallagher declined to change his mask. While he was sorting his mail for the day, multiple supervisors approached him asking him if he needed a mask and then telling him he couldn't wear the one he had.
Still, Gallagher refused:
"I still didn't change my mask, went about my day, just kind of ignored it. Went out, delivered my mail, came back and then it was the same thing, only this time it was the head superintendent saying I can't."
Gallagher said he showed up wearing the same mask the following day and was eventually told to leave after refusing to wear a company-provided mask.
“The mask requirements, like our vaccine mandate, are mandatory and necessary under direction from the (Employment and Social Development Canada [ESDC]),” a spokesperson for Canada Post said in an emailed statement, according to CTV News. “Therefore anyone at work must comply.”
“If they don’t have the masks we’ve provided, we have additional masks and disposable medical masks on hand. If an employee still does not wish to comply, they are asked to leave the workplace.”
In August 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 begin wearing masks indoors once again in places with high transmission rates.
Canada Post noted that Public Health Agency of Canada supports the use of cloth masks. It claimed it is following directives from the ESDC that require employees to wear company-supplied masks to ensure their quality.
“Canada Post continues to monitor best practices and recommendations with respect to face coverings, and will update our requirements accordingly," according to Canada Post.
Different types of masks are available for public use. Non-medical masks, medical masks and respirators can all be used in the community, according to the federal government.
“The effectiveness of non-medical masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19 can vary based on many factors. It depends on material, construction, fit and proper use,” it said.
Ottawa added that some non-medical masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 similarly to medical masks if they:
- fit well
- have multiple layers, including at least 2 layers of breathable tightly woven fabric, such as cotton and
- an effective middle filter layer
Last year, several groups came together to launch World Mask Week 2021, spanning July 12 to 18.
In mid-2021, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released a “best practices” guide built on the experiences of employers and workers worldwide who adapted to COVID-19 into a management standard called ISO/PAS 45005. This covers the use of personal protective equipment, masks and face coverings, among others.