TORONTO - The federal government is facing backlash for teaming up with U.S. tech giant Inc. to distribute personal protective equipment across the country.

Critics of the partnership announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today say turning to Amazon is problematic because it ignores the handful of Canadian-owned delivery brands that could do the job.

They also say the Seattle-based company has been facing complaints from a Brampton, Ont. warehouse workers group that claims Amazon has not been properly protecting workers from COVID-19.

The group, Warehouse Workers Centre, recently started a petition claiming Amazon is refusing to give workers paid leave, is not telling staff what it will do if facilities are contaminated and is not practicing physical distancing properly.

Centre organizer Gagandeep Kaur says she worries about the government deal putting further strain on workers who are not properly protected.

Amazon referred The Canadian Press to news releases detailing that it has increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at its facilities, required employees and delivery service partners to clean and disinfect their work stations and adjusted its practices so fulfilment centre employees can maintain a safer distance from co-workers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020.