Canada Post employee dies after contracting COVID-19 amid major outbreak at Mississauga facility
Published Wednesday, January 27, 2021 11:33AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 27, 2021 5:33PM EST
A Canada Post employee infected with COVID-19 during an outbreak that has impacted 250 workers at a Mississauga facility died over the weekend, the union representing workers said.
Canadian Union of Postal Workers Toronto local president Qaiser Maroof told CP24 the employee at the Gateway East plant passed away on Monday.
He said the man worked nights on “Shift 1” at the Gateway East plant.
He was tested on Jan. 19 and isolated at home after his test.
Between the start of January and today a total of 250 workers at the facility have tested positive for coronavirus infection, including an additional 26 since Tuesday.
The spread at the 4,500-worker facility got so bad this month that 100 Canada Border Services Agency guards assigned to inspect packages at the facility were instructed to stay away.
More than 350 workers – an entire shift of workers in one area of the facility - were sent home to self-isolate last week as Peel Public Health sought to slow the spread of infection in the facility.
Maroof said the deceased employee was not part of the shift sent home to self-isolate, and sought out testing on his own.
He did not show symptoms prior to his test and was upset that he was not offered a test as a proactive measure, Maroof recalled.
“It is an unnecessary loss of life and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends,” Maroof said in a statement. “This tragedy underscores why we have been insisting to the government that the postal workers are indeed frontline workers.”
Employees told CP24 news of the death was shared informally with some workers on Tuesday.
Chief Medical Officer of Health for Peel Region Dr. Lawrence Loh would not comment on the death when asked Wednesday, however he did later issue a statement expressing his "deepest condolences."
"We stand with you, as we stand with all in our community who have lost loved ones during this disaster," the statement reads. "Canada Post has followed all recommendations from Peel Public Health during this outbreak investigation and have implemented rigorous measures to keep its employees safe. This includes infection prevention and control measures, shift closure and rapid, on-site testing to help stop its current outbreak."
Maroof said he did not know whether the man was hospitalized prior to his death or where in the GTA he passed away.
The man’s wife also works for Canada Post, at a Toronto facility on Eastern Avenue.
Canada Post confirmed the death of an employee to CP24.
“We offer our deepest sympathies to the family as they mourn the loss and respect their privacy during this difficult time,” spokesperson Phil Legault said. “We are focused on supporting our employees who have lost a colleague while ensuring we continue to stringently follow the guidance and direction from Peel Public Health.”