Ontario jail guards stage work refusals amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Guards at several Ontario jails have staged work refusals for not being allowed to wear protective gear amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the union representing provincial correctional workers, some institutions are not allowing guards to wear personal protective equipment like masks and gloves, while other facilities do.

A spokesperson for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says the issue came to light after an inmate at a Timmins, Ont. facility began showing signs of COVID-19 last week.

Guards at the facility were allegedly told they were not allowed to wear masks and gloves, which caused many to refuse to work.

The union says staff members were only allowed to wear the gear after the inmate tested positive over the weekend.

The Ministry of the Solicitor General says the inmate has been isolated and the facility has taken measures to protect correctional workers.