More than 180 Toronto bakery workers contracted coronavirus in May


More than 180 workers at a bakery in Toronto have contracted COVID-19, but the outbreak happened in May and has only been made public now.The outbreak took place at FGF Brands, an industrial bakery on May 18, and was lifted by Toronto Public Health on June 24.

When the health agency first declared the outbreak in early June, after performing two waves of mass testing for all team members, a total of 184 cases were confirmed out of a workforce of 2,000. people.

“These cases were largely limited to two facilities in Ontario out of a total of seven facilities that FGF owns and operates. We haven’t had any new cases since then, ”Lori Procher, SVP Talent and Development of FGF Brands told Daily Hive in a written statement on Monday.

Procher added that the company took “aggressive action” from the end of January with the provision of masks and gloves for all workers, followed by a physical distancing in early March.

The bakery pandemic response team then developed other measures, including: increasing the frequency of disinfection of common areas; install plexiglass on the dining room tables; hiring four nurses to help with temperature checks and screening; the addition of five days of personal emergency leave; and reduce non-essential production to have fewer workers on site.

“It has been an extremely difficult time for everyone, and we are proud of every member of our team who came together to ensure that we are doing our little bit in helping to keep Canada’s food supply chain alive. movement, ”said Procher.

But Wayne Gates, an NDP spokesperson for occupational health and safety, said that because workers did not have access to paid sick days, it contributed to the outbreak.

“Today we learned that many workers have fallen ill with COVID-19 and that one worker tragically lost his life at FGF Brands, an industrial bakery in Toronto. These were low-paid temporary workers who did not have access to paid sick days when the epidemic began. They came to work when they felt sick because they would not be paid if they stayed at home, ”the statement said.

Gates added that after the outbreak, workers were given “only a few days of paid sick leave”, but it was “too little and too late”.

Lack of access to paid sick leave made these workers vulnerable to COVID-19 and resulted in a massive outbreak in this factory and the loss of a life. ”

She noted that all workers, including temporary workers, should be able to take time off work when they fall ill without worrying about lost wages or job security.


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