Four Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed at Karmax

By: Laura Steiner Reporter/Editor

Four cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Milton’s Karmax plant. The cases were confirmed early last week in an announcement from the Assistant General Manager on July 14.

The subsidiary of Magna of Magna International is a 1.5 million sq. ft. warehouse in Milton. It’s divided into two different shops, and run on a mixture of full-time and temporary employees. “We might be at low risk,” Carey DePass said in a phone interview. DePass is one of the temporary employees.

DePass filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labour over workplace safety Wednesday July 15, and was told they had opened a file, and Karmax had notified them “Workspaces of those affected employees have undergone comprehensive deep cleaning, and disinfection,” Magna Vice President Corporate Communications & Public Relations Tracy Fuerst said, in an official statement. The company was notified on July 13, 2020.

The Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development confirmed the cases were reported to them, and an inspector has been assigned to investigate the complaint. DePass says he was interviewed for 90 minutes. “Employers must protect workers- including temporary workers- from hazards in the workplace including infectious diseases such as COVID-19,” Ministry Spokesperson Janet Deline said via email.

Employers are also required to provide sufficient information such as time/date ad location of exposure. The four employees worked in the stamping area of press shop one. “If it’s on one side, it’s on our side,” one anonymous source said.

Magna also has a screening process in place. Employees are required to fill out a questionnaire on symptoms at home before their shift via an app. Those who are successful, get a green card in order to access the front gate. There are no workplace testing procedures in place.

DePass feels employees were placed in jeopardy. “They put their production goals ahead of their people,” he said. He raised issues on contact tracing. The cards for temporary employees are a different size when compared to those of full time. Contact tracing is left up

Since the four positive cases were announced, DePass has been tested for COVID-19. His test came back negative. The employees who tested positive remain at home under quarantine, and continue to be monitored.