Message from the National President March 31, 2020
We continue to hear that protective equipment has yet to be received in many post offices and this is causing significant stress for our members. We take this seriously and we are continuing to bring these issues forward to the Corporation on a daily basis.
The good news is that protective equipment has begun to arrive in some of our offices. There was some confusion when these kits arrived because the Corporation originally advised the barrier shields were Plexiglas. The plastic that is in the kits is 12 point PVC and has been proven effective to stop the flow of aerosols. Here is an example of the installation of the protective barriers in the Almonte, Ontario, post office.
Elsewhere, our resourceful members have been getting creative and innovative in order to protect themselves and their customers. As just one example, a Postmaster shared with us her improvised safety meaures:
“Even with the signage and tape for the floor, indicating our expectations from the customers, people were either not reading or not adhering to the social distancing or the limit of 2 customers in our office. I took the proactive position to lock our door and when the customers pull on the door we quickly come to the door. We ask what they need. If it’s a prepaid parcel return, we request that it is left on the lobby desk and we will retrieve it once they leave. If it’s a monetary transaction then they are admitted but with the following instructions:
Once I unlock the door please wait until I’m behind the counter before you enter.
Please lock the door behind you.
Stay behind the yellow line if you are doing anything other than shipping parcels.
If they are sending a parcel, I then instruct customer to put it on the scale and step back behind the yellow line again.
If it’s a 19+ or monetary transaction I will move further back so customers can use pinpad.
Any parcels or registers that had been on our shelves prior to the signature change have now been sent out for delivery, lessening the foot traffic in the office.
After every person comes in we disinfect the counter, the doors, the deadbolt and pinpad. We are wearing gloves and wash frequently.
We have staggered RSMC and CPAA shifts (voluntarily) to ensure we only have 4-5 staff members in at one time. That seems to be working well too.
Hope some of this helps another office.”
The rainbow symbol for hope is everywhere in small rural Quebec communities, such as in Notre Dame de Pontmain. We are also hearing really amazing stories of communities stepping up to help Postmasters find emergency supplies. We know a healthy and safe workplace is a joint responsibility but until CPC can get the supplies there, it is good to see communities coming to the rescue.
CPC has just issued further instructions for Team Leaders on employees taking special leaves and quarantine leaves. Your Branch can advise you of your rights, including your legal right to refuse unsafe work if needs be.
Due to the current pandemic and concern for the safety of our members, our Spring issue of The Canadian Postmaster will be postponed for now. In the meantime, please stay informed with our updates.
We want to keep hearing about your stories and those of your communities during this difficult. Please feel free to share them with us via the contact form on our website or by emailing us at the National Office. And please keep your suggestions and photos coming!
Take care out there,
Brenda McAuley, National President
(working from the National Office building in Ottawa)