Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
- respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
- close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.
During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is essential to ensure everyone is protected to minimize the risk of the infection spreading. To learn more: check out the resources tab or this updated toolbox talk (PDF).
Get the Facts on Masks
At this point during the COVID-19 pandemic, many workplaces in Canada are starting to reopen. Some businesses, especially retail and food stores, have implemented safety rules and precautions that ask customers and staff to wear masks. When worn properly, a non-medical mask or face covering can reduce the spread of the virus.
Read more: Get the Facts on Masks (CCOHS)
Hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers
How to find out which products are on Health Canada's list of hard-surface disinfectants with evidence against COVID-19:
1. Locate the Drug Identification Number (DIN) on the disinfectant product label
2. Look for that number on the Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) list
How to find out which antiseptic skin cleansers or hand sanitizers meet Health Canada's requirements for sale in Canada:
1. Locate the Natural Product Number (NPN) or Drug Identification Number (DIN) on the product label
2. Look for that number on the hand sanitizers list
Personal practices, such as proper hygiene help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food
- use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available
- keep hand sanitizers out of reach of children and always supervise them when using hand sanitizers, as ingesting even small amounts of sanitizer can be fatal
Safer Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting Strategies to Reduce and Prevent COVID-19 Transmission
Proper cleaning and disinfecting are important for reducing the spread of COVID-19. This fact sheet provides best practices for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces.
Keep public health measures up to keep COVID-19 down. Pace yourself with:
Avoid touching common surfaces and objects
Clean your hands often
Extra layer with non-medical masks or face covering as needed
Click the image below to open poster (PDF):
Federal Transport Minister expands required use of face masks on planes, trains, ships and transit effective June 4th
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau is expanding the required use of face coverings on planes, trains, ships and transit to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Effective at noon on Thursday, airline flight crew and airport workers will be required to wear non-medical masks, in addition to the existing requirement for passengers. Read more here: https://www.ohscanada.com/garneau-expands-required-use-face-masks-planes-trains-ships-transit/
Benefit-Finder Tool for Emergency Aid
The Federal government has launched an online tool to help Canadians navigate the various financial benefits available during the pandemic.
Learn more here: https://covid-benefits.alpha.canada.ca/en/start
Financial help for Canadians affected by COVID-19
The CBC has put together a guide to the benefits that the federal government, provinces and territories are offering to people financially affected by the coronavirus. To view, click here: https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/coronavirusbenefits/
Wellness Together Canada
Due to COVID-19, many people are concerned about their physical and mental wellbeing. Canadians are being challenged in a number of ways because of isolation, financial and employment uncertainty and disruptions to daily life. Wellness Together Canada provides free tools and resources to help get Canadians back on track. These include modules for addressing low mood, worry, substance use, social isolation and relationship issues.
To learn more: https://ca.portal.gs
April 28th, National Day of Mourning
Please read the letter below from International Vice-President Arnie Stadnick for the National Day of Mourning.
Day of Mourning Posters
The following posters are provided in PDF format, click on the images to view.
Health Canada warns against 'fraudulent and unauthorized' N95 masks
Health Canada is warning Canadians about the risks of using fraudulent and unauthorized N95 masks that may not offer protection against COVID-19.
Mental Health Continuum Video
Mental Health we all have it. See how it can affect you both positively and negatively. Watch this 3-minute video and see what you can do to make yourself the best you can be. Please share it with your fellow brothers and sisters. In times like these, we need to think of our most vulnerable members. Keeping in contact goes a long way to prevent isolation.
Using masks to prevent coronavirus
In an attempt to slow the transmission of COVID-19, federal, provincial, and territorial governments in Canada have urged Canadians to limit their interactions with others, practice good personal hygiene and follow physical distancing measures, as well as to stay and work from home to the extent possible. Both the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the US CDC now recommend the voluntary use of non-medical masks or cloth face coverings for the general public where physical distancing (6 ft) is difficult to maintain. This is a departure from the original guidance on masks for the general public based on evolving research to minimize the transmission of COVID-19.
How to make your own face covering
In the following video US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, shares ways to create your own face covering in a few easy steps.
The following is advice from the Government of Canada on all the ways you can prevent the spread of coronavirus, including advice on wearing masks.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. If you or someone you know need to apply for this benefit, please see below.
For the most up to date information including who is eligible and how to apply, please refer to the Government of Canada website.
Before you apply
- Determine your eligibility – see Who can apply below.
- Check your myCRA account login information - If you are applying online, double check your myCRA account username and password by signing in on the CRA Website.
- Setup Direct Deposit - If you do not have direct deposit setup with the CRA, you can enrol online by following these instructions: Setup direct deposit with the CRA. Allow 3-5 days via direct deposit vs 10 days via cheque in the mail.
- Determine what day you can apply - To help manage the volume, the CRA has setup specific days for you to apply based on month of birth. As of this writing (April 7, 2020), it is as follows. If you were born in the month of:
- January | February | March: Mondays – Best day to apply is April 6th
- April | May | June: Tuesdays – Best day to apply is April 7th
- July | August | September: Wednesdays – Best day to apply is April 8th
- October | November | December: Thursdays – Best day to apply is April 9th
- Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are open for any birth month
The benefit will be available to workers:
- Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
- Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
- Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
- Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.
Interactive: Do you qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)? (PDF)
Information related to COVID-19 is changing regularly. Members are encouraged to determine their own eligibility by applying as soon as possible here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html
Canada COVID-19 App
Use the Government of Canada COVID-19 app to get all the latest info on COVID-19 in Canada. A self-assessment tool, resources, stats, updates and more: https://ca.thrive.health
COVID-19 text scam exploiting new emergency benefit program
There is a COVID-19 text scam posing as the new emergency response benefit. For more information see:
Trudeau warns of COVID-19 text scam exploiting new emergency benefit program (CBC)
COVID-19: A letter from International President Newton Jones
Please see the following letter from International President Newton Jones.
Message from IBB & BCA re COVID-19
Please click the links below for a memo and posters from IBB & BCA re COVID-19:
March 17, 2020
EI Inquiries re COVID-19
For all EI inquiries regarding COVID-19, the government has set up a dedicated line for assistance and information:
You can also find information at:
March 13, 2020
COVID-19 Fact Sheets
For the most up to date information on COVID-19 in Canada, how to protect yourself, symptoms and treatment, travel advisories, etc visit:
For more information, see the following fact sheets:
- What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (PDF)
- What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (PDF)
- Reduce the spread of COVID-19. Wash you hands. (PDF)
- How to isolate at home when you have COVID-19 (PDF)
- Vulnerable populations and COVID-19 (PDF)
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. The severe diseases have included:
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)
Currently a new coronavirus has been identified in China (Wuhan City), and is known as 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The case was reported on December 31st, 2019, and confirmation of the coronavirus identification occurred on January 7th, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with 2019-nCoV as low for Canada (11 Feb 2020). Note: Public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available.
For more information on the novel coronavirus and basic precautions:
- OSH Answers Fact Sheet: Coronavirus [CCOHS]
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus: Outbreak Update [Government of Canada]
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus [CDC]
- Video: 2019 Novel Coronavirus [CDC]