Office receives allegations of imminent risk to health and safety of employees related to COVID-19
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented for the people of Alberta. As the government implemented public health orders to protect Albertans, concerns regarding how public entities executed the restrictions came to the forefront.
In one case, the office received a complaint that individuals within a public entity were not complying with public health orders issued by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
We contacted the Chief Officer of the public entity to inform them we had received a complaint made about activities that may not be compliant with an order issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Further, the Commissioner notified the Chief Medical Officer of Health as persons gathering in recreational facilities may constitute an imminent health risk given the public health emergency at the time.
The Chief Officer of the public entity responded and quickly took steps to ensure compliance with the orders.
In another instance, our office received a complaint from a public sector employee who alleged their division was continuing to host an educational program in their facility. The complainant alleged this did not comply with public health restrictions and created a potential health risk for all involved.
Our investigator contacted the public entity to discuss the details of the complaint and received a response the following day. The public entity was already aware of the issue as the complainant had also previously contacted them about the matter. The public entity subsequently advised they would take the concern to the appropriateparty and also committed to getting back to the complainant with a response.
The complainant subsequently contacted our investigator and advised the program would no longer be hosting on-site classes. The complainant was appreciative of our office’s response and thanked him for looking into the matter.
These cases serve as good examples of how, when it is appropriate, we can resolve significant and serious matters expeditiously and informally.