Pay increase and protective equipment for frontline workers

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We, the undersigned, urge the companies and businesses who expect their employees to come into work during the COVID 19 pandemic be provided Personal Protective Equipment and be paid proportionate to the risk that they're taking effective IMMEDIATELY. This would mean they receive at least time and a half compensation. They should not be told that they will be laid off, lose seniority, or face any kind of reprisals.

While some of us are working from the safety of our own homes, others among us are risking their health and the health of their loved ones as they are required to work in grocery stores, retail stores, gas station, and banks so that we can have access to the essential services that they provide. They must be adequately compensated for this.

Grocery store chains such as Loblaws (parent company of Shoppers Drug Mart, Fortinos and Real Canadian Superstore) and Metro have offered a raise to individuals working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Loblaws has offered a $2/hour raise, while Metro has extended a 15% raise to the hourly rate.

Although their gesture is appreciated and is much more than what most other employers are offering — it is certainly not enough. This raise is not proportionate to the risk that frontline workers are taking. They interact with hundreds of people every day, handle cash, and so, their work increases their risk of exposure to the novel COVID-19.  Some of these individuals feel obligated to come into if they want to keep their jobs. They not only go home to their vulnerable children and spouses but have elderly people living with them as well. They are not only risking their own lives but anyone who they come in contact with.

The objective of this petition is to bring attention to how underpaid and undervalued these workers are during this very critical time. We call on the companies and the government to provide these workers with Personal Protective Equipment and time and a half compensation, at the very least. This should apply to frontline workers including those working in grocery stores, retail, banks, and any other employer expecting their staff to leave their homes during this time.

A quick Google check shows that between 2018-2019 companies reported the following:

Loblaws' net profit: 46.69 billion

Metro: 731.6 million

BMO’s net income: 6,249 million

CIBC: 5.1 billion

RBC: 9.67 billion

Dollarma (Q4 sales): 1,059.7 million

Tim Hortons: 3.34 billion

As per the above numbers, we know these companies can afford it, and we urge the government to do more to protect employees.