In a statement sent to Global News on Tuesday, the Crown company said that the “rapidly changing situation regarding COVID-19 and the Omicron variant” is affecting staff levels and reliability.
“We are responding by implementing contingency plans where necessary and adjusting our operations to serve Canadians. This situation is floating across the country and customers may experience delays over the next few weeks,” a spokesman said in an e-mail. -mail.
“As a national service provider, our people live and work in communities across the country. Therefore, what we see reported by public health officials is generally reflected in our workplace.”
The company said in a statement Friday that it may impose temporary measures, such as reducing hours or closing some post offices for a short period of time.
Meanwhile, the company said it continues to “prioritize the health and safety of our people and the communities we serve.”
“In addition to our mandatory vaccination practices, we continue to follow COVID-19 workplace safety protocols,” the Canada Post reported.
It did not specify how many workers have been affected recently and which operations are most affected, but advised Canadians to consult their website and mobile tracking site for delivery information.
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Another courier, Purolator, said it was also experiencing staff shortages.
A spokesman for the company told Global News that it was starting to see an increase in the number of employees reporting sick at the end of December 2021. Less than five percent of its employees have been affected, they said.
“We are experiencing some service impacts in areas of Quebec, including one-day shipping delays and previous cut-off times for pickup shipments. We are taking a number of steps to address volume as quickly as possible to mitigate the impact on customers,” the spokesman said.
“These include prioritizing critical health care and express shipments, extending on-call times and collaborating with customers to manage volume flow. Customers can view service updates and track shipments on purolator.com.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for UPS told Global News that the company does not share information on how many employees report sick, but it “has not affected our ability to serve our customers.”
“Our network runs smoothly and employees deliver with industry-leading on-time delivery service that all of our customers can trust,” the spokesman said.
“We continue to monitor the COVID-19 Omicron variant and communicate with our staff about the recommended behaviors for managing health risks.”
Many Canadian companies have joined the growing list of operations experiencing staffing issues related to the Omicron variant.
Airlines, hospitals and transit services are just a few of the sectors that have had to reduce operations across Canada in recent weeks. The number of people unable to work due to COVID-19 is only expected to continue to rise, a Canadian economist told Global News earlier.
Vancouver-based clothing retailer Lululemon Athletica said Monday that its full-year earnings would be at lower end of expectations thanks to a number of pandemic-related concerns, including “limited staff availability.”
Metro Inc., the parent company of the pharmacy chain Jean Coutu, said in a recent statement that it is adjusting the level of staff at the retailer to minimize the impact of “absence” on its operations.
While Canada added more than 55,000 net new jobs in December, total working hours in Canada experienced “slight change” from November to December, Statistics Canada reported.
The figure that accounts for lost hours due to illness as well as extra hours taken for overtime will be key to measuring Omicron’s impact on the workforce, said Stephen Brown, Canada’s senior economist at Capital Economics.
Current infections in Canada suggest that perhaps 0.5 percent of workers are put on the sidelines with an active COVID-19 infection, Brown told Global News.
But given how Omicron has overwhelmed test capacity in provinces like Ontario, he believes the number of “absences” among Canadian workers in a given week is closer to 1.5 percent.
Brown also expects that January employment figures will show a reduction in the total number of working hours and perhaps also net jobs.
– with files from Craig Lord
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