Nova Scotia revokes coronavirus exemptions issued to Irving Shipbuilding executives for U.S. travel

Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health has swiftly revoked the public health exemptions he issued to three Irving Shipbuilding executives.

Under the exemption, the trio were allowed to travel to the United States for work.

They were then able to return to the province without following Nova Scotia’s mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for out-of-province travel or Canada’s 14-day self-isolation period for travellers from outside the country’s borders.

Read more: Irving lays off workers, shuts down Halifax Shipyard for three weeks

Under the exemption, which was granted by both the provincial and federal governments, the executives were required to undergo coronavirus testing the day of their return and self-isolate until the results of the tests were confirmed to be negative.

“I did give an exception in June with very tight restrictions, but now after concerns have been raised, I have revoked that exception and made clear there will be no further company travel to or from the U.S.,” Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said on Wednesday.

Strang did not detail what concerns have been raised but the move came after the outrage from members of the public and members of the Marine Workers Federation (MWF) Unifor Local 1, which represents workers at Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax.

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In a post in an internal union Facebook group obtained by Global News, the union says it is disappointed that some of the executives were allowed to return to work before a 14-day self-isolation process.

“We believe (it is) in the best interests of not only the shipyard but the entire province, that these individuals should be self-isolating for a 14-day period before returning to the site,” the post reads.

“It is extremely unreasonable not to keep 3 people outside of the shipyard for 8 working days to eliminate the risks surrounding potential exposure to COVID-19.”

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Irving has yet to respond to multiple requests for comment from Global News.

As part of Strang’s decision, the trio of executives has been “ordered” to be sent home for 14 days.

He has also “asked for assurances that COVID testing has been completed.”

More to come

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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