I wanted to send out an immediate notice about the issue of WCB coverage for our members and the Corona Virus.
Recent irresponsible posts and uneducated opinions shared on social media have created a unnecessary level of anxiety about WCB coverage for our members who have been diagnosed with The Corona virus.
Please read the following facts.
1. To begin with, your union is dealing with this issue, and let me assure you we have an expertise in dealing with WCB procedures and legislation that has come out of decades of advocacy on your behalf. We started to address this issue as far back as this February.
2. We are in constant discussions with our administration, and as recently as this morning. We are asking the administration to stop the inappropriate comments made by some members of our department.
We are asking the leadership of this city to send a message to all emergency service workers under its umbrella that if a police officer, firefighter, firefighter-paramedic or ambulance paramedic is diagnosed with the virus they would be supported in their WCB claims.
3. Our position is clear: there needs to be a presumption of any diagnosis for us and all health care workers that if we get the virus, it is presumed to have arisen out of our work.
4. WCB does go case by case and even without a presumption in place for this virus, we will still take cases forward and argue for WCB coverage. This is why we continue to push all members to document any and all relevant medical calls or possible exposures. This would be invaluable information later for WCB adjudication.
5. Again we remind our members to please not accept rumour or give credibility to social media posts concerning this pandemic. Statements such as a blanket statement that WCB would turn down all Corona virus diagnosis of health care workers is irresponsible and causes unnecessary fear and anxiety at a time where we need calm leadership.
If any members have any questions any time of day please call the UFFW COVID HOTLINE: (431) 374-1011
Captain, Winnipeg Fire Department
President, United Firefighters of Winnipeg
International Association of Firefighters