Brampton bus-drivers’ union against continued use of medical-grade mask

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Published September 20, 2021 at 2:33 pm

Against the advice of Peel Public Health, officials from the union for Brampton transit employees continue to fight for looser restrictions on COVID-19 protection.

Frank Vani, the president of local 1573 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) spoke against a vaccine mandate during the City of Brampton’s emergency meeting on the topic on Sept. 1.

And the union now says bus drivers should be allowed to choose a mask they’re comfortable wearing, rather than the medical-grade one that is the current standard, and one a city report says should remain.

The information is contained in a City staff report that will be presented at Wednesday’s Committee of Council meeting.

A medical-grade mask is one that protects the user from any COVID-19 transmission, while most cloth and disposable masks are mainly there for the protection of others.

The decision to mandate the use of a medical-grade mask occurred on Mar. 21, 2021, following a suspected outbreak on Mar. 1.

The union, when discussing this topic for the report, proposes operators be permitted to select they type of masks they wear when behind the on-board safety shield. They would switch to a medical-grade mask when dealing with the public.

However, Peel Public Health contends continual switching of masks increases the likelihood of contamination and the on-board shield is not enough protection.

The report, which is in response to a council decision on Aug. 11 asking staff to make a recommendation on masking and transit workers, recommends the continued use of medical-grade masks for local bus drivers.

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