Brampton Amazon warehouse is fighting the health order closure


Published March 13, 2021 at 7:27 am


Amazon says it will fight a health order that will temporarily shut down one of its large Brampton warehouses.

The large fulfillment centre located at 8050 Heritage Rd. in southwest Brampton was ordered closed yesterday by Peel Public Health over fears of rapidly increasing cases of COVID-19.

The plant was ordered closed and its 5,000 workers told to go home and isolate for 14 days after cases of the virus jumped 40 percent in the past two weeks to 240 infected people. The health department says the facility has had 617 COVID cases since last fall.

Amazon responded last night saying the closure will impact Canadian customers and requested a formal review.

The company challenged the health department numbers saying its own tests show a positivity rate of less than 1 percent among workers and that the risk of spread within the building is minimal.

“We do not believe the data supports this closure and we will appeal this decision,” the company said in a statement.

It’s not known if a formal review process has been established for cases such as this.

Peel Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh admitted the closure is a bitter pill to swallow for the company but added the health department believes it is in the public’s interest to do so at this time.

“This is really about trying to make sure that we control spread in our community,” said Dr. Loh. “In the last few weeks we had noticed a concerning trend in our ongoing outbreak investigation. And that’s why we’ve taken the step now to protect our community and to protect the workers in that workplace.”

Dr. Loh said variants of COVID-19 were found in some of the positive cases at the fulfillment centre, but he added that has not contributed to the significant rise in cases found at Amazon over the past few weeks.

Even though a large number of workers at the warehouse rely on the Steeles Ave. bus to go to and from their jobs, Dr. Loh said there has been no link established between the Amazon cases to those Brampton Transit bus drivers who came down with the virus earlier this week.

The  Amazon closure begins today and will last until March 27 if the health order continues to stand.

Amazon says it provides sick pay for employees for 14 days if they are forced to isolate.

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