Quebec announces 13 major employers picked to host workplace vaccination sites

Quebec has picked 13 major businesses spread across the province to host vaccination sites -- a place to give doses to their workers and workers' families, among others.

They are spread over eight regions and include corporate giants in remote areas, like Rio Tinto in the Lac-St-Jean area, and big Montreal-area employers like the SAQ liquor board and the Trudeau airport. 

The Thursday evening news release also gave a new hint of the province's vaccination timeline, saying that it expects the vaccination of these employees to begin in May.

The companies "must... undertake to respect the order of priority provided for the vaccination campaign, without favouring their employees and by not vaccinating anyone outside the period allowed according to these priorities," a news release said.

"The objective of this initiative is to lend a hand to the public network by giving its teams a little respite, by vaccinating the general population even more quickly."

There's been a new move in Canada towards vaccinating workers at their workplace, with Alberta announcing Thursday that it would set up on-site vaccination for the Cargill meatpacking plant in High River, Alta., which had a devastating outbreak last year.

However, Quebec's plan has been in the works for a few weeks.

On March 19, the province put out a callout to businesses, asking those interested in hosting a vaccination site to apply and describe the facilities they had available.

Thursday's release said more of the sites will be added later. The original callout said up to 50 sites were sought.

The goal for the new company sites is to vaccinate half a million people between them. Each has committed to vaccinating 15,000 to 25,000 people from May to August.

Those crowds will be made up our three major groups: the host company's employees, employees of other companies "located in the vicinity," and all the employees' families.

The companies are supposed to "ensure" that their own employees get vaccinated.

The general population will also have access to them, the province wrote.

The response to the province's appeal was huge, with 450 companies responding, the health ministry wrote. Most still want to help one way or another and may be able to provide resources.

"Over the next few weeks, networking will be carried out between these companies and the identified vaccination centres," the release said. "All companies that have shown an interest in participating in the vaccination campaign will be contacted."

The 13 companies picked are providing the service without pay by the province.

The company vaccination centres, as of April 8, are as follows:

• Banque Nationale, Bell, Couche-Tard, Groupe CH and METRO (Montreal and Brossard);

• BRP (Valcourt);

• CAE (Montreal);

• Cascades (Kingsey Falls);

• Rio Tinto Aluminum Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean vaccination center;

• Industrie Côte-Nord (in collaboration with RioTinto IOC, ArcelorMittal Mines and Infrastructure Canada, Aluminerie Alouette and Minerai de fer Québec);

• Merck Canada - Novartis Canada and other partners in the pharmaceutical industry (Montreal);

• Pôle de la Coopération Desjardins and its partners in greater Lévis;

• Pratt & Whitney Canada (Longueuil);

• Resolute Forest Products & Cégep de Saint-Félicien - Haut-Lac-Saint-Jean (Saint-Félicien)

• Société des alcools du Québec (Montreal);

• YUL (Airports of Montreal - Bombardier - Air Canada);

• CEZinc - Glencore - Valleyfield College - Vallée-des-Tisserands School Service Center (Salaberry-de-Valleyfield).

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