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Contact: 1.800.661.3708


Supporting our members during COVID-19

A message from UFCW 1518 Leadership

UFCW 1518 members are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. They have been doing critical work to help flatten the curve on the pandemic and protect the public.

We have been in constant contact with members, employers, and the government to protect workers’ health and safety and ensure they receive the recognition they deserve for their heroic efforts. Here you will be able to find important information about the COVID-19 pandemic, how you can stay safe, and what you can do to help front-line grocery, pharmacy, food processing, and healthcare workers.

Check back here regularly for updates and resources related to COVID-19.


About COVID-19

Reliable COVID-19 information for the general public from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool

Use the self-assessment tool to determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19

Applying for EI & federal benefits

If you're out of a job or in an unpaid leave due to COVID-19, you can apply for EI and other federal emergency benefits.

Filing a WorkSafeBC Claim

If you have contracted COVID-19 or have been put at risk of contagion at work, you can file a WorkSafeBC claim.

Childcare Resources

Still at work and have a child at home? Find out what support and resources are available to you.

Housing Supports

Housing supports are available if you are struggling to pay rent during COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Out Plan

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and find out when you will receive your first and second dose.

Mental Health

There are many free and low-cost mental health supports available to workers during COVID-19.


People who are feeling sick should not go into work, whether you are showing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus or symptoms of some other illness. If you do think you have been exposed to COVID-19, you can use this self-assessment tool to check your symptoms.

If you are asked to do something that is unsafe, the first step is to tell your supervisor that you believe the work is unsafe. The supervisor is obligated to investigate. If they agree that the situation is unsafe, they must fix the problem. If they don’t agree, you, your supervisor, and a Joint Occupational Health and Safety worker representative must investigate the problem together. If the group agrees that the situation is unsafe, it must be dealt with as soon as possible. If the group does not agree that the work is unsafe, your supervisor and yourself must contact WorkSafe BC to investigate the situation.

Check out our step-by-step guide to refusing unsafe work and our infosheet on your health and safety rights in the workplace.

If you have a concern about your safety around other employees you first need to identify if the perceived threat is in fact a risk to your health. Please talk to your co-worker and express your concern to them, they may be able to bring some clarity on whether their symptoms relate to COVID-19 or not. If you're not satisfied with your co-worker's response please talk to management. If you have exhausted these two avenues and have found no resolution to your concern, please get in touch with us.

Apply for EI right away. Here is some helpful information for applying. If you are worried about your job status following a COVID-19 related layoff, see the next question.

No. The Employment Standards Act has been amended in light of the COVID-19 crisis to protect the jobs of workers workers who become ill, who need to go into self-quarantine, who need to care for children or other dependents, or whose employer is concerned that the employee may expose others to risk.

Workers who don't have access to a paid leave are able to take unpaid, job-protected leave retroactive to January 27, 2020. Click here to learn more.

Apply for EI and file a WorkSafeBC claim as soon as you can. Here is some helpful information for applying. Click here for information about filing a COVID-19 related WorkSafeBC claim.

Your department manager will have specific information about what personal protective equipment you are allowed to wear in your workplace. We are asking government to require that grocery stores supply masks, sanitizers, and paper towels to staff on duty before selling any of these products, and ensure that all workers are informed of the process and procedures they need to undertake to eliminate risk to their well-being.

Are the vaccines safe and effective?

Canada has one of the most thorough systems to approve new vaccines. Health Canada also continues to monitor the vaccine's safety and effectiveness after it is authorized for use.

Health Canada has approved the following vaccines for use:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech,
  • Moderna,
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and
  • Janssen (owned by Johnson & Johnson).

When am I getting my vaccine?

Vaccine appointments are booked when you are eligible. Bookings are based on your age, BC's COVID-19 Immunization Plan phases and the vaccine supply.

If you are 12 years of age or older, you can now register here. Note that your COVID-19 vaccine appointment will not be booked on the same day you register.

How long does the vaccine take to work?

It typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection against COVID-19. If the vaccine requires two doses, the full benefits will not be seen until after the second dose.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

It is common to experience mild to moderate reactions to vaccines. Some of the common reactions include tiredness, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting and pain, redness or swelling in the arm where the vaccine was given. In most cases, these symptoms usually go away on their own.

For information on what to expect when you get the vaccine, you can find more information on the BCCDC website.

Should I wait to get a different vaccine instead of taking the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine?

If the AstraZeneca vaccine is available to you and you are worried about your health, please know that the risk of an adverse effect is extremely low.

Public health experts recommend taking the first vaccine offered to you, so you are protected as soon as possible.

For more information, the BCCDC website has provided a FAQ document to respond to questions about the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccines.

If I have already gotten COVID-19, do I still need to get the vaccine?

Yes. Public health experts are uncertain how long people retain COVID-19 antibodies. Experts recommend that people take the COVID-19 vaccine to protect against re-infection.

Once I get the vaccine, do I still need to follow COVID-19 measures?

Yes. For everyone's safety, public health measures still need to be followed until we have reached a level of community vaccination that suggests widespread immunity.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 at work please don’t hesitate to get touch with us at 1.800.661.3708 or reception@ufcw1518.com.

If you are interested in joining a union and would like to be contacted by an organizer, please click on the button below.