Oilsands workers based outside Canada exempt from quarantine

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International residents getting into Alberta to work within the oilsands have been exempt from federal COVID-19 restrictions on the border since June 2020, together with the 14-day quarantine.

Alberta Well being spokesperson Tom McMillan stated in a Tuesday electronic mail these employees had been declared important after the federal authorities granted them permission to cross the border. The province’s tips on exempt employees have been on-line since final spring.

“They’ll go to work with out the quarantine. That’s the federal provision and we mirror it,” stated McMillan in an electronic mail, including they’re nonetheless required to observe the province’s well being restrictions.

Representatives from the provincial and federal authorities couldn’t affirm by deadline what number of employees dwelling outdoors Canada are working within the oilsands, or what number of of these employees have examined optimistic for COVID-19 since arriving in Alberta.

A well being and security worker with Canadian Pure Assets Restricted (CNRL) who spoke to Fort McMurray At present on situation of anonymity confirmed the corporate has American employees at its oilsands operations for seasonal upkeep work.

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A few of these employees have examined optimistic for COVID-19 whereas working in Alberta and been hospitalized. The CNRL worker couldn’t affirm what number of People have COVID-19, however stated the employees had been from Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Oregon.

The well being and security worker stated a few of these employees had been with Texas-based contractor AZZ, which focuses on welding, metallic coatings and electrical tools. AZZ didn’t return requests for remark.

CNRL spokesperson Julie Woo stated the corporate wouldn’t touch upon the difficulty. She additionally wouldn’t affirm if the corporate nonetheless requires employees to quarantine, regardless of the exemption.

Suncor spokesperson Melanie Ducharme stated the corporate had American contractors full a 14-day quarantine after they had been introduced in for upkeep work. These employees have since left the Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo space.

Syncrude spokesperson Will Gibson stated roughly 30 American employees and one other 30 employees from Germany, the Netherlands and Trinidad are getting used for seasonal upkeep work.

The corporate required them to quarantine, however an exception was made for a totally vaccinated American contractor. Gibson stated their trades had been “extremely specialised” and tough to seek out in Canada.

Mayor, AFL alarmed at exemptions

Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, stated it was “an outrageous scenario” that oilsands corporations had been utilizing American employees for routine upkeep.

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“It is senseless to usher in American welders when we’ve got actually hundreds of unemployed welders proper right here in Alberta,” he stated.

“They shouldn’t be right here within the first place, however to have them exempted from the quarantine necessities everybody else has to abide by when getting into the nation is senseless.”

Mayor Don Scott stated he discovered American contractors had been working at oilsands operations when contacted by Fort McMurray At present. He added this data has by no means been talked about throughout conferences with authorities or trade representatives.

“What we’ve been asking for all through this pandemic is for data, simply easy issues, so we are able to perceive what’s taking place on this area,” he stated. “It wasn’t till (Monday) we lastly bought breakdowns of vaccines in our area.”

vmcdermott@postmedia.com

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