Sask. NDP calling for standards to protect frontline workers at essential businesses

There needs to be standards set by the provincial government to protect frontline workers employed at essential businesses, said the Saskatchewan NDP’s leader.

“What we’re calling on the government to do today is to take a leadership role,” said Ryan Meili at a conference done in front of a Saskatoon grocery store on March 26.

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“We need places like this to be open to the public so that they can feed themselves and take care of themselves at a time we’re asking them to stay home. We also want to make sure that is happening in the safest way possible.”

Meili said the province needs to work with employers to guarantee frontline workers in essential services have access to clear physical distancing protocols, adequate protective equipment, along with access to childcare and other supports to enable them to do their jobs safely.

The NDP leader said that while every company is working hard to try to protect its employees and customers, a lot of the protective measures were made up as they went along and there’s no kind of standard they can refer to.

“Workers are trying hard. Customers are trying hard too to keep themselves safe. The business owners are trying hard as well,” he said. We need the government to step up and give them some guidance on how to do it right.”

Gail Mack, who was with Meili, is a frontline worker at a Saskatoon grocery store. She said she was proud of what she was doing to help support the community.

“I do feel that there are more measures that need to be taken in order to safeguard not only our customers, but our employees at all the stores,” she said. “I do think the government needs to step forward and make some guidelines that are the same for all stores to safeguard everybody.”

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