‘Access to vaccines is imperative for these workers to be adequately protected day in and day out’
The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is calling on the Ontario government to prioritize the vaccination of essential workers so that the sector can continue to keep workplaces open and safe for workers.
“As a sector that employs over 750,000 essential workers in the manufacturing sector that continue to go to work every day – we must ensure that Ontario uses every resource available to them to increase vaccination rollout,” said Dennis Darby, president and CEO of CME. “While our sector has retooled entire operations to make essential PPE and other goods necessary for their protection, access to vaccines is imperative for these workers to be adequately protected day in and day out.”
CME is offering support to leverage the capabilities of the manufacturing sector to speed the vaccination rollout, including using industrial sites and resources to deliver vaccines to their workforce and the broader local communities.
The group said that manufacturing workers have been told that the earliest potential inoculation is in June.
CME is calling on the Ontario government to help the industry play its part in the fight against COVID-19 by allowing manufacturers to continue to safely operate by immediately expanding the availability of rapid testing programs to all manufacturers.
The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies) previously said that its expertise and experience in vaccine supply chain management and providing immunizations will be essential to the success of Canada's COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
The Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association also wants the government to speed up the vaccination process for teachers and other workers in the education sector.
“The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association acknowledges the progress made today to extend eligibility for vaccinations to Special Education workers province-wide and all education workers in select hot spot areas. There remains, however, an urgency to place priority on vaccinating teachers and all education workers throughout the province given next week's provincial school break,” said Patrick Daly, OCSTA president.
Daly noted that education workers continue to work diligently to meet the needs of students and families while supporting the continuity of learning throughout this pandemic.
A mandate for the urgent vaccination of all teachers and education workers is called for at this time, he said.
Recently, Ontario announced that beginning next week, education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs across the province, and all education workers in select hot spot areas, will be eligible to register for vaccination.
Vaccinations will commence in Toronto and Peel, then rolling out to priority neighborhoods in other hot spot regions, including York, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halton and Durham. This will be followed by a rollout across the province as supply allows, according to the government.
“Education workers, who are the very soul of our schools, are finally getting the recognition and support they deserve,” said Warren Thomas, president of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO). “No longer the forgotten front-line heroes of the pandemic, we are thrilled to see our hard-fought advocacy pay off and commend the government for listening to front-line workers.”