Union officials argue security guards should be added to Ontario’s vaccination priority list given that the provincial government is relying on them to mitigate COVID-19 risks in long-term care (LTC) homes. UFCW Local 333 leadership is also calling on Premier Doug Ford to affirm that security guards are essential workers.
“We hope that it is merely an oversight that security guards working in LTC homes and hospitals have not been placed on the priority list,” Jeff Ketelaars, UFCW Local 333’s secretary-treasurer wrote in an open letter released today. “Throughout this crisis, security guards have been working with other workers who have been deemed essential. At many long-term care homes, they are tasked with not only providing security, but transporting those who have passed to funeral service providers. In hospitals, they are tasked with guarding entrances to emergency departments and COVID-19 testing centres.”
It’s now expected that security guards will be integral to the rollout and operation of vaccination clinics. That’s in addition to security guards’ ongoing role in ensuring that public health protocol is followed in a sweeping range of commercial and institutional venues.
Ketelaars reiterates that security guards have performed “hazardous work” since the outset of the pandemic. “We are asking for security guards to be properly recognized for the essential work that they do,” he asserts.