Fight Covid-19--Close B​.​C's Construction Camps

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Premier John Horgan
BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix
BC Centre for Disease Control
Dr. Bonnie Henry

We, the undersigned, are writing to request that you immediately shut down construction activities at all B.C.'s large industrial work camps and megaprojects.

Three factors make this step urgent.

First, these projects concentrate large numbers of workers together.  Despite modest staff reductions, reports indicate that the Site C dam project has 979 workers currently on site, with more coming.

Second, the cramped working and living conditions, the sharing of tools and the nature of the work itself render consistent physical distancing virtually impossible. 

Finally, the transient nature of these workforces regularly travelling back and forth to their home communities elsewhere in BC and Canada raises an unavoidable risk of work sites becoming incubators for the spread of COVID-19 onsite, during travel and in those home communities.

In many instances, industrial work camps are located in close proximity to First Nations communities. Asymptomatic infected workers coming in and out of camps risk the transmission of the COVID-19 virus to these and other small, vulnerable communities. There has already been a confirmed coronavirus case at the Kitimat LNG Canada project, and a number of workers at the Site C dam worksite remain on isolation. 
 
It is incomprehensible to us that the provincial government has chosen to define industrial work camps as essential services and keep these camps open. In essence, the provincial government is  prioritizing private profit over human health. In the face of growing evidence of asymptomatic transfer of COVID-19*, this position is untenable.
 
Industrial work camps present a looming and unacceptable threat to health of the workers employed in them, their families and nearby northern communities. They add to the already existing threats to the survival of Indigenous people throughout the province.
 
We request that the government of B.C. shuts down any and all construction work at all large industrial work until such time as the Chief Provincial Health Officer indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a significant public health threat. 

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Kelowna

Chief Don Tom
Vice-President, UBCIC
Vancouver

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson
Secretary-Treasurer, UBCIC
Vancouver

R.Warren Bell BA MDCM CCFP FCFP(LM)
Past Founding President, CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)
Founding President, WA:TER (Wetland Alliance: The Ecological Response)
Rural Preceptor, University of BC
Salmon Arm

Josette Wier MD
Hazelton

David Bowering MD
former Chief Medical Health Officer
Northern Health Authority
Hazelton

Will Offley RN
Emergency room nurse, Vancouver General Hospital
Vancouver

Christina Gower
BSPN, RPN, PLN
Port Moody

Earl Peach
Solidarity Notes Choir

Cindy Godmaire RN
Parksville

Roz Isaac
North Vancouver

Melissa Lem, MD, CCFP, FCFP

Jackie Larkin
Metchosin

Colleen Zahorodniuk RN
Kelowna

Larry Barzelai MD CCFP

Stephanie Von Dehn MD CCFP

Steve Gray MD MHSC CCFP
Metchosin

Gene McGuckin
Member, BROKE
Retired Past President of CEP Local 1129, Burnaby

Dr. Margaret J. McGregor MD CCFP MHSc

Carrie Wells RN
New Westminster

Dr. Rashmi Chadha
MBChB MScCH CCFP MRCGP (Dist.) ABAM DRCOG DCH Clinical Assistant Professor

Hanna Daber
Richmond, BC

Ann Mayo
Coquitlam

Shirley Samples,
Sunshine Coast Streamkeepers Society
Roberts Creek

(Organizations listed for identification purposes)