New Health and Welfare Improvements

Coming this fall, direct pay for para medical like eyeglasses, chiropractic, pharma, dental. New plan card and a phone app for those who want to use it. Take a photo and send in the claim and get payment by direct deposit. More info soon.

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.

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

Hours Banks for Union Health and Welfare Plan during EI Sickness Benefits Claim

Just a reminder that if you end up on EI Sickness Benefits for whatever reason, please remember to notify DA Townley so you can have the disability coverage of your contributions kick in. That way you won’t lose your hours bank while on sickness benefits. DA Townley has sent us a reminder of this, see below.

I just wanted to remind you that it will be important for your Members to know that when they apply and are accepted for EI Sickness Benefits, they will need to contact our office to apply for Disability Credits in order to keep their hour banks intact. Our staff will advise any Members who call our office that we refer to apply for EI Sickness Benefits, but in the chance they just go directly to EI Sickness Benefits without calling us, they will need to be reminded to apply for Disability Credits.’

Email D.A. Townley at to apply for disability credits.

COVID19 Cautionary Notification-Lafarge Shutdown

March 21, 2020…update to Lafarge Shutdown Cautionary Notice. Below is an excerpt from an email statement delivered to Thorcan Management by Lafarge. We understand that a Thorcan higher up was in the same room as the COVID19 positive Lafarge higher up for a short period of time and at a safe distance. The hazard from this contact is relatively low. Please continue to practice self monitoring of your health and contact your health care professional if you begin to show any symptoms. It is important that you practise very careful social distancing, hand washing and take all precautions at home with those you live with. Please take care and again, if you know of older or retired members please contact them to check in and let them know they are not alone. The hall is still operating and we are available to help you navigate these troubling times.

“Dear Contractors/Vendors,

Lafarge Canada received notification from Vancouver Coastal Health March 19th, 2020 regarding our employee who was diagnosed with COVID-19. The VCH-Richmond Public Health has completed a subsequent risk assessment of potential exposure to the employees and clients and have identified a very small group of individuals who have a low risk of exposure.

We have confirmed with Richmond Public Health that it is safe for individuals to return to the workplace so long as they are in good health. We have contacted our employees to advise them of this recent communication and are taking the necessary steps to return them to active service at the plant.

Out of an abundance of caution, Vancouver Coastal Health is asking anyone who might have been in contact with the infected individual to:

·  Monitor your health for fever, cough, malaise, runny nose, fatigue, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea (until March 27th); and

·  Avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill.

Prevention is the safest way to manage this outbreak. We are encouraging employees to continue to adhere to handwashing, social distancing, and hygiene protocols as recommended by both Health Canada and the World Health Organization.”


This is a caution to all members who have been working at Lafarge Cement Plant Shutdown in Richmond.

According to Local 97, Ironworkers working for RKM have been potentially exposed to the COVID19 Virus through their Supervisory personnel who were in contact with a COVID19 Positive Lafarge manager/executive.

**Anyone working at Lafarge on this recent shut down should self-isolate for 14 days.** +++The latest information on the possible exposure at Lafarge, see top of this post, unless you have symptoms of illness, self isolation is not necessary. If you are on the job make sure all proper precautions are being taken; washing down and disinfection of tables, door handles, tools; safe distances are observed between people, frequent handwashing, try keep your hands from touching your face. +++

Take care to protect your loved ones from possible infection. If you have any symptoms especially fever, dry cough, sore throat and difficulty breathing contact your health care provider. See the information below from the Health Link BC website. Take care, be safe and contact us if you have any questions.

If you know of or are related to a retired member please check in with them from time to time to ensure they are doing well. Take care not to come in close contact but please do keep an eye out for them.

Geoff Higginson


Self-isolation means staying home and limiting your contact with others for 14 days. This helps to lower the chance of spreading the disease because symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. During this 14 day incubation period, there is a small chance you can spread germs even though you don’t feel sick. This is why it is important for people at risk of having been exposed to the illness are asked to self-isolate.

To limit contact with others, you should

  • Stay home
  • Avoid those who have chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults
  • Avoid having visitors to your home
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing

For more information on self-isolation see:

Plan ahead and prepare for what you will do if you or a family member becomes sick and needs care.

For more information on being prepared see: