We at CUPE Ontario are beyond heartbroken that a second CUPE health care member has tragically died of COVID-19.

We honour the memory of a treasured personal support worker (PSW), a loving father and spouse, and well-loved colleague of the members of CUPE 2199 at the Madonna Community Care home in Ottawa.

To his family and the members of CUPE 2199, we extend our deepest sympathies. We offer whatever support and assistance we can to help you through this terribly difficult time.

When a CUPE member dies on the job it is tragic for all of us. That this beloved PSW— described by his co-workers as gentle, kind, and respectful—was infected with the coronavirus while performing his duties and succumbed to its complications earlier this week, goes beyond tragedy. There was so much that the provincial government should have done to prevent the crisis and deaths during this pandemic crisis.

Know that the deaths of our PSW member from CUPE 2199 and that of an environmental aide at Brampton hospital—a member of CUPE 145—in April, only intensify our efforts to impress on the province how vital higher levels of masks and other personal protective equipment are to keeping all those on the health care front lines and other CUPE essential workers safer.

Now is the time for mourning and for reflection on the wonderful people our CUPE 2199 and CUPE 145 members were. It is also important to acknowledge that as of May 7th more than 3100 health care workers—many of them CUPE members—have been infected with COVID-19.

We want all of the 280,000 CUPE members in Ontario to know we are working tirelessly to push the province to better protect every one of you in the workplace so there are no more COVID-related health care worker deaths in Ontario.

In unity,

Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario President

Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer