Prime Minister Trudeau's has confirmed that the government of Canada has reached an agreement with GM where the company will retool its unused plant in Oshawa for the production of much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for Canadian workers. The news has been met with approval from Ontario workers' unions, whose members are eager to get back to work.
“The GM plant in Oshawa can be a made-in-Oshawa, Ontario, Canada solution to the dire shortages of personal protective equipment that put the lives of workers and all Canadians at risk during the COVID-19 crisis," said Ontario Federation of Labour President Patty Coates. "The workforce in Oshawa has the skills and is ready to work. I am pleased that labour's call for action on this matter has been heard.”
In a press conference last week with Green Jobs Oshawa, Coates called on governments to order GM to produce PPE. The GM plant shutdown in Oshawa put thousands out of work.
The OFL has provided recommendations to government on what workers in Ontario need to ensure safe and healthy workplaces, and decent work for all.
“We urge the government of Ontario to follow the lead of the federal government, use their emergency powers and order manufacturers across Ontario produce much-needed PPE,” said Coates.
In an open letter to the premier at the beginning of March, the Ontario Federation of Labour set out the much-needed steps to support and protect workers across the Province.
“All workers need protections, whether through access to proper PPE or decent work laws," said Coates. "The provincial government must act to demand that business play a key role in ensuring the health of our province.”