The IAFF Canadian Office and Canadian District Vice Presidents will be keeping our Canadian affiliate leadership up to date on issues arising during the COVID-19 pandemic with regular e-mail blasts and with special e-mail bulletins when warranted.
At this time we are, in conjunction with District Vice Presidents LeBlanc, Burry and Carter and Canadian Legal Counsel Sean McManus, actively looking into a number of emerging issues, including:
Downgrading of PPE: In some jurisdictions, authorities have stated that surgical masks are equivalent to N95 masks or other recommended equipment. The IAFF strongly opposes this statement and urges affiliates to do the same. As a reference if needed, please see a letter from General President Schaitberger to the U.S. Government on this point. The Canadian Office can assist with a similar letter for your local if required. We urge affiliates to refer to the IAFF’s online COVID-19 resources for further recommendations on PPE and staying safe while responding.
Suspension of Collective Agreements: There have been concerns raised that authorities in some jurisdictions are considering suspending workers’ collective agreements in order to manage workforces during the COVID-19 pandemic, for example in conjunction with current or future local, provincial and federal emergency declarations. The IAFF position is that all collective agreements are to remain in force at this time. Canadian Legal Counsel Sean McManus is currently reviewing this matter, and we ask all locals that encounter this threat to contact their respective District Vice President and the IAFF Canadian Office.
Modifications to Tiered Response Agreements: The IAFF is aware that tiered response agreements are being modified in some jurisdictions in order to manage emergency medical response resources. The IAFF supports a continued role for fire fighters in prehospital care during the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of a safe and properly-resourced medical response working cooperatively with other first responders and frontline healthcare workers. If you have any concerns about tiered response agreements, please contact your IAFF District Vice President and the IAFF Canadian Office.
Call between General President Schaitberger and Minister Blair: At the request of the Minister’s Office, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair spoke with IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger today by telephone to discuss issues related to fire fighters and the COVID-19 pandemic. The IAFF appreciates the Minister’s outreach and his efforts to include the IAFF as a national stakeholder during this unprecedented national emergency.