April 7th, 2020
Ashton Calling on Immediate Action on Non-Essential Workplaces
I am receiving more and more concerns from workers across our region about the continued operation of work camps and mines during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
I have been contacted by numerous people who are concerned about the fact that contractors from provinces where there are major outbreaks of COVID-19 are driving to work sites, including Lalor, here in northern Manitoba.
I have been contacted by people who are concerned that they still have to work in the mine or in work camps where physical distancing is not possible at all times. I have been contacted by people who are concerned for themselves and family members that could be vulnerable to COVID-19.
I have been contacted by people who are being told that they must go to work at certain worksites because other workers aren't.
We need to be clear, slowing down the spread of COVID-19 means shutting down non-essential workplaces in our North, one of the most vulnerable parts of the country.
Other jurisdictions have done exactly this. Companies like Vale have done this in Newfoundland because of the concern about the possible spread of COVID-19 throughout the region.
We need to protect workers, their families, their communities and neighbouring communities.
It is time for the provincial and Federal Governments to act.
This is about saving lives.
We must also be there for working people who are affected.
We produce much of the wealth of this country. Let's make sure the workers who are impacted face no loss of income for the weeks and maybe months we need to control this pandemic.
Let's be clear - we can bring back the economy when this is all over but we can't bring back people who are victims of the pandemic.
Every year on the Day of Mourning, we state that no one should have to die to make a living. At this time with a global pandemic spreading across our country we should not be putting working people, their families, communities and our North at risk.