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Fanshawe College faculty file grievance, seek indoor mask mandate

LONDON, Ont. — Faculty at Fanshawe College have filed a grievance calling on the London, Ont., school to reinstate a mandatory indoor mask policy. 

OPSEU Local 110, which represents faculty at the college, said it filed a group grievance on Sept. 23 over what it claims is Fanshawe's failure to provide safe working conditions. 

"Fanshawe’s abandonment of indoor masking, social distancing, and many other preventative measures, has created an unsafe work environment," the union wrote in a statement, saying its members have raised safety concerns for themselves and their families. 

Mark Fetham, the union chapter president, said the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires Fanshawe to make sure its employees have a healthy and safe workplace. 

"We are asking Fanshawe to follow its obligations under the law," he wrote in a statement. 

Fanshawe said it will schedule a hearing with faculty to hear the grievance and will issue a response after that. 

"Fanshawe is following all provincial guidelines related to health and safety on campus," said Elaine Gamble, the director of corporate communications at Fanshawe. 

She said the decision to not reintroduce mandatory masking or vaccine requirement was based on "regular discussions with local public health authorities."

She also said that while Fanshawe doesn't currently mandate masks, the college still encourages students and employees to wear masks indoors and keep their COVID-19 vaccine records up to date. 

Ontario's government lifted mandatory masking and other pandemic restrictions earlier this year, and many universities and colleges followed the suit across the province. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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