Canada Post employees in Petawawa, Ont. on unpaid leave over vaccination status
PETAWAWA, ONT. -- Approximately one third of the workforce at Canada Post in Petawawa, Ont. is on unpaid administrative leave following the implementation of the federal government's mandatory vaccine policy.
That's left letter carriers like Matthew Collins, who has been working for Canada Post for 20 years, without a pay cheque.
"Out of approximately 16, 17 [employees] in Petawawa, there's five of us right now that are on leave without pay," Collins tells CTV News. "That means the mail is not going out and not being delivered, or shouldn't be delivered."
In a statement to CTV News, Canada Post says their mandatory vaccine policy came into effect Nov. 27, and any employee who is not fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated and not on their way to full vaccination, or not being accommodated based on limited grounds, will be placed on leave without pay.
Further, with nearly one third of the workers at the post office in Petawawa suspended from the jobs, Canada Post says in a statement that mail delivery in the town will be affected:
"We remain committed to serving the people of Petawawa. In the short-term, there may be some temporary delivery delays for some customers due to staffing issues. We have put plans in place to minimize any impacts," the statement said.
Collins is refusing to get his COVID-19 vaccine and does not like the government forcing him to choose between his job and getting the shots. The veteran letter carrier says there was an indication Canada Post was willing to deviate from the federal government's mandate and test unvaccinated workers. But when Collins arrive to work Monday morning, he was refused entry.
"We got word from the union that Canada Post was willing, if you weren't double vaccinated, that they would provided the tests and we could test twice a week," says Collins. "And we were quite proud of Canada Post for letting people choose if they want to be vaccinated or not. They pulled that off the table."
That's left the mail delivery service short of hands at their busiest time of the year, leaving some with incoming parcels wondering if they'll receive them in time.
"I haven't been out in the stores shopping, I've done all of it online," says resident Bonnie Bird, as she left the post office. "I actually just got a notification from Costco saying a package I was expecting was going to be delayed until between the 20th to the 24th."
"Management isn't supposed to be delivering the mail, they are," adds Collins, "but some of the mail is not going out."
The suspended postal worker is now hoping Canada Post and the federal government change their tone, given that other workplaces accommodate unvaccinated employees through testing.
"I'd like Canada Post to call me up tomorrow morning and say come on back in, you need to test, and you're back to work."