The inspection of incoming international mail at a Canada Post facility in Mississauga is on hold after the Canadian Border Services Agency pulled some of its workers from the site amid concerns about a COVID-19 outbreak.
A total of 182 workers at Canada Post’s Dixie Road location have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus so far this month.
That number had stood at 121 as of Wednesday but dozens of additional workers have tested positive since then due to the widespread testing of one entire shift, as recommended by public health officials.
While Canada Post has said that it has been able to maintain its operations so far a representative from the Customs and Immigration Union told CP24 on Friday that the CBSA has now asked approximately 100 employees that work at the location to stay away.
“This is a decision by the CBSA to not provide service at the postal centre. This is the result of the news reports that have come out with over 120 cases whereas from Canada Post we had as of Tuesday only been advised of 18 or 19 (cases),” Mark Weber said. “Right now our members are working shoulder to shoulder with Canada Post employees so our health and safety is a collective issue. If they are not going to tell us when people test positive and allow COVID-19 infected people to work with us that is a very concerning situation for us.”
In a statement provided to CP24 Friday evening, a CBSA spokesperon said some CBSA still officers remain at the site but international mail continues to be processed at a different location.
"On January 21, CBSA border services officers working on the main floor at the Toronto International Mail Processing Centre (IMPC) were moved to the upstairs mezzanine area of the facility, where Canada Post Corporation (CPC) employee presence is limited, to focus exclusively on secondary exams. International mail continues to be processed by CBSA officers at the CPC satellite facility located at Toronto Pearson International airport," the statement read.
There are no known COVID-19 cases among CBSA staff members related to the outbreak at the Mississauga facility, the spokesperson said
Canada Post has said that the most recent positive cases at the facility have involved employees who were “either asymptomatic or did not believe they were exhibiting symptoms after conducting the mandatory self-screening.”
In a statement , the Crown corporation said that it has now completed the testing of one entire shift and is working to test employees assigned to other shifts on a “voluntary basis.”
“We plan to continue into next week with the ongoing guidance and support of Peel Public Health. We are also working closely with the union on this proactive approach and employee participation has been strong,” the statement notes.
Canada Post said that while its Dixie Road facility continues to operate, “customers should expect delays.”
More than 4,500 employees work in mail processing, technical services, transportation, casual and administration at the facility.