Member Travel Between Health Regions in BC

The provincial government allows you to travel for work in the province. I have created a standard letter for our members to present to law enforcement when you are screened in a road side stop, or a government official if your travel is questioned. Currently the provincial order allows for law enforcement to confirm that the “driver” of the vehicle is authorized for travel. They are not allowed to keep records of your information unless they have determined you are not authorized to travel. Your driver’s license and a letter from the union should be enough to confirm that you are travelling for work, which is authorized by the Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth.

This is a quote from the BC Government Website

When stopped at a road check restricting non-essential travel, police will only have the authority to request:

  • a driver’s name, address and driver’s license
  • any available documentation regarding driver’s name and address (for example, secondary identification that confirms a driver’s residential address if recently moved)
  • the purpose of the driver’s travel (documentation regarding travel is not required)

Police cannot engage in arbitrary vehicle or street checks. Site-specific enforcement measures will be informed by ongoing discussions with stakeholders on limiting the impacts to the public and racialized communities. If police have reasonable grounds to believe that a person has travelled for a non-essential purpose, they can direct the traveler to turn around and leave the region. These measures will be limited to site-specific and authorized police operations on travel corridors between regions.

As you can see additional documentation is not required but if you request it the union will send you a text message or an email of a signed letter from the union “RE Essential Work and Travel” to have in your phone, like the one below…

Re Essential Work and Travel.

Text Me at 778-847-2472 or email ghigginson@bac2bc.org or info@bac2bc.org to have the letter sent to you.

In solidarity,

Geoff Higginson

Covid 19 Testing On Job Sites and Industrial Projects with Camps

Some contractors/owners are requiring COVID 19 Rapid Testing to gain access to work on shutdowns. Counsel advises that this is something that may be required to get on site to work. You can obviously refuse to be subjected to the test but, that means the company or owner/client can deny you access to the job. However, if it is being made a requirement for the job, and you agree to the test, the company, in our opinion, has to do the screening on your first day indoctrination. Same as with site specific indoctrination, it amounts to doing work for the company. A requirement for that specific job.

COVID 19 testing on Camp Jobs is also happening. All those travelling in to LNG Canada in Kitimat are required to do a rapid covid test upon entering the project. JFJV Fluor has decided to implement a second covid test three days after you arrive in camp. They have been trying to unilaterally implement the testing during workers off time either After day shift or after night shift. The union objects to this. For the same reason. Mandatory testing as a requirement to stay on site is paid time in our opinion.

Whether you are on a camp job or a shut down, if you are required to take a covid 19 test please contact Geoff Higginson at 778-847-2472 or the Hall at 1-855-847-2472.

In Solidarity, Geoff Higginson

New Masks In from IU and Local 2 for Members

We have 4 new masks based on member surveys last month. These local 2 custom masks are three layers thick with a pocket to squeeze in an N-95 or P-100 mask. We are collecting a list of member preference and mailing these masks out with the newsletter in May. If you haven’t already listed your preference on the face book page for TTTA please send an email to ghigginson@bac2bc.org or info@bac2bc.org with your preference. One each until all members have them.

We also have available the International face masks and neck gaiters which we will give out while supplies last, one of each for every member interested. See the photos below for the masks and their “number”.

In solidarity, Geoff Higginson

Covid 19 Positive in an Alberta Camp?

If you have symptoms and/or have tested positive for COVID 19 in an Alberta Camp job and are forced to self isolate you may be eligible for WorkSafe Alberta claim for lost wages if the infection occurred on the job. Local 1 AB, Business Manager and financial Secretary Alan Ramsay should be contacted. Local 1AB has a workplace advocate, Mr. Bob Iskiw, who will be taking up the case for COVID 19 wage loss claims for members working under the 1AB collective agreement. Local 1AB can be contacted at 1-780-426-7545.

In BC if at an industrial camp the contractor has to provide daily wages if you are self isolating. Contact Geoff Higginson at 778-847-2472 or the Hall at 1-855-584-2021.

If you are returning from Alberta and intend to accept work on a BC job, please, monitor yourself for symptoms and use the BC Government online symptom checker (click here) to determine whether or not you should get a covid 19 test. Don’t take a chance at bringing the virus to a shutdown in BC…everyone will suffer if we get a job shut down.

Please get to your hospital emergency room if you start having difficulty breathing. Don’t take any chances brothers and sisters.

In Solidarity, Geoff Higginson

COVID 19 and Travel

2021-05-01 Travel for work is allowed. You can travel back and forth through the health regions for work. If you go through a traffic stop all they can ask for is the driver’s id and home address and where he is going. That’s it, they cannot make a record of your travel and location etc., unless they suspect you of trying to make non-essential travel. Call the hall or Geoff Higginson if you have any problems.

2021-04-27 Current rules and orders allow you to travel in and between health regions in BC. You should not require anything other than telling law enforcement that you are travelling to work, if you do want a clearance slip we will send one. Contact info@bac2bc.org or outside regular hours ghigginson@bac2bc.org. Or Call 778-847-2472.

Currently our work is considered essential and travelling between health authorities is allowed if it is your work. We have contacted the government today and were advised that if there are any changes to the rules for travel when you are going to work the government will announce these changes on Friday probably just after noon.

The union will draft a “clearance letter” that we can issue to prove you have been dispatched to work and will work with the contractors to ensure there are no problems with your transit to the jobs you are hired on. If you are travelling send an email to ghigginson@bac2bc.org to register so we can send you a personalized clearance letter if necessary.

We are hearing anecdotal accounts of exposures and quarantines in Alberta in the patch. Alberta does not have rules guaranteeing daily wages when quarantined. BC does for any of our industrial camps named in the Provincial health Officers Orders and Guidance. If you are in Alberta working contact Bricklayers Local 1 AB for official information.

BAC Local 1 Alberta 1-780-426-7545.

BC Building Trades Submission to WCB re Adding Diseases Caused By Communicable Viral Pathogens including COVID-19.

The BC Building trades has submitted policy recommendations to the Workers Compensation Board to INCLUDE Communicable Viral Pathogens on schedule 1 of the Workers Compensation Act. Schedule 1 is called “Presumption of Occupational Disease Related to Specific Process or Industry”. The goal is to have viral pathogens in particular COVID-19 on the list, so that workers who are infected from work will be compensated for the illness. Click HERE to see the letter.

BC Building Trades Unions Go After Construction Site Sanitation Conditions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 19, 2020

Building Trades Council calls for public inquiry into construction site sanitation

Pandemic has exposed a “culture of non-compliance”

The BC Building Trades Council is calling for a public inquiry into health and safety in the construction sector.

The inquiry is one of the council’s recommendations to the Premier’s Economic Recovery Task Force, which brings together leaders from labour, business, First Nations and the non-profit sector to inform the province’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has exposed a culture of non-compliance in certain segments of our industry,” said Andrew Mercier, BCBT executive director. “Construction site sanitation only improved after WorkSafeBC launched an aggressive inspection initiative in response to the concerns we raised.”

Mercier warns that without continued enforcement, sanitation practices will return to their poor pre-pandemic state.

“The legacy of COVID-19 should be safe and healthy construction sites where sanitation and hygiene practices abide WorkSafeBC’s occupational health and safety regulations, and the orders of the public health officer,” said Mercier. “Construction sites that fail to do so should not be tolerated.”

BCBT, which represents 35,000 unionized construction workers, has been advocating on behalf of construction workers from across the sector (members and non-members) on site sanitation since the start of the pandemic. Workers called and emailed the Building Trades to report inadequate washroom facilities, a lack of running water, no soap or hand sanitizer, workers sharing tools and working too close to each other, and workers coming to their sites visibly sick.

“We have had no hand sanitizer, no provisions for hand-washing, and no safety talks about hygiene and the pandemic,” wrote one worker. “People are sneezing and coughing and obviously sick and are not being asked to go home.”

Another worker reported the only hand-washing station on a site with over 50 people being a hand-crank garden hose attached to a piece of wood offering only cold water.

WorkSafeBC introduced a new “inspectional initiative” to address sanitation on construction sites, which was a positive first step, said Mercier. While acknowledging those contractors who prioritize worker health and safety and ensured their sites were compliant with regulations and public health orders, Mercier says industry regulators must remain vigilant to prevent a backslide.

“We must do everything we can to ensure people are working safely,” said Mercier. “The construction sector is essential to our economic recovery – ensuring construction workers are safe and healthy isn’t optional.”

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Job Site Safety-COVID-19 Member Rights and Responsibilities

These are still crazy times. We all must stay informed and when we go to work not accept anything less than what is required by the Provincial Health Officer, Center for Disease Control and WorkSafe BC. Below are links to critical information about what employers have to do to protect you on the job. Hand in hand with that is what we should be doing to protect each other. Remember many of us have contact with older relatives in our home, children and spouses. If you have any symptoms stay home for at least ten days. If you have been exposed to someone with a Positive COVID19 test, then self isolate for 14 days. They are making it much easier to get tested now. Just call your doctor for a telephone consultation and explain your symptoms. You will most likely be given an immediate appointment for testing. Remember if you have to stay home because of the covid you can collect the CERB benefit of 500 per week for up to 16 weeks. Check the link to confirm you would be eligible.

Worksafe BC Regulations and Guidelines Concerning Lunch Rooms Washrooms Changing Areas. The Public Health Officer has now made it more imperative to follow the guidelines.

Provincial Health Officer Order re Industrial Camps

Provincial Infection Prevention and Control Officers

Guidance to Construction Sites-BC Public Health

Guidance to Mining and Smelting Operations

WorkSafe BC Frequently Asked Questions

During the Work Slowdown

Now is a good time for health and safety training and apprenticeship training. Our apprenticeship training will soon be available with an online component to handle the classroom work and testing and scheduled practical sessions using proper physical distancing to protect your health. Let’s make lemon-aid out of this COVID19 lemon we have to chew on right now. Contact Sharon at the office 604-584-2021 or Geoff at 778-847-2472 to get you name on the list for apprenticeship training. Check back on this site for links to online health and safety training including the new Regional Safety Training Course. for now, enform/ossa (the new Energy Safety canada group) has extended the expiry date of all tickets that expire in the first half of 2020 to September.