Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.
As you are aware, a number of front line workers in the Toronto area and one in British Columbia are suffering from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Many more have been exposed to the threat in the course of their duties and are now under quarantine.

This threat reminds us of the risks that front line workers confront each day as they go about their work. It also reminds us of the dedication of these workers and their willingness to provide services vital to the public. It is because of their commitment to quality public service that these workers – hospital workers, ambulance paramedics, public health nurses and social service workers – have been exposed to SARS or remain at risk of exposure.

To those who are ill, the half million members of CUPE send their solidarity and best wishes for a speedy recovery. To those who may have been exposed to the disease, we send our heartfelt hope that they can soon return healthy to work and their normal lives.

This health emergency underlines the critical nature of the public services delivered by CUPE members in health care, education, municipal and social services. It also highlights the importance of our being on the job, assuring the public that the vital services we deliver are available at times of crisis and every day.

Attached you will find information on SARS and how to limit the risk of exposure. You will also find information on your rights and the demands you should make of your employer to ensure your health and safety are protected.

We urge all workers to take necessary precautions to limit the spread of this disease and your own risk of exposure. We encourage you to work through your local health and safety representatives to press employers for proactive measures to protect health and safety. And we ask members to contact your CUPE representative if you have concerns about risk or if you have been exposed to SARS.

For further information, please read our health and safety alert on SARS.

Working together we can continue to play a vital role in curbing the spread of this disease, protecting our members and the crucial public services they deliver.

Judy Darcy
National President
Canadian Union of Public Employees