Cambridge, Ont. Toyota plant to close after employee tests positive for COVID-19

Click to play video 'How employers are handling the uncertain times of the COVID-19 outbreak' How employers are handling the uncertain times of the COVID-19 outbreak
What can employers do to ensure the safety of their employees during the novel coronavirus outbreak? HR expert Sherri Rabinovitch tells Global’s Laura Casella there are a few steps that should be taken for the benefit of both employers and their employees – Mar 19, 2020

Editor’s note: In a previous version of this story, the headline incorrectly identified the name of the plant. This has been corrected.

Toyota Canada says it plans to close its Cambridge, Ont. plant on Thursday afternoon after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The automobile manufacturer says they were notified by Hamilton Public Health on Wednesday that an employee at the north plant tested positive for COVID-19.

READ MORE: ‘We want to help’: Guelph, Ont. distiller making free hand sanitizer during pandemic

According to an internal memo obtained by Global News, employees will still be paid during the shutdown that is expected to last for 11 days.

“We believe this shutdown is right for Toyota at this time,” the memo stated.

Story continues below advertisement

The company is also planning to shut down the rest of the company’s automobile and components plants in North America beginning Monday, according to the memo.

The affected employee’s last shift at the Cambridge plant was on March 12 and they have been in self-isolation since.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

According to another internal memo obtained by Global News, at least 10 others who may have had close contact with the individual have been placed into self-isolation as well for 14 days.

Toyota Canada said the affected employees will not return to work until being cleared by a physician.

Several employees who have contacted Global News say they were sent home at 11 p.m. on Wednesday night and the plant was shut down after the positive test was confirmed.

However, operations reportedly resumed on Thursday morning.

One employee who left out of fear for their own safety said they are being charged a personal day for doing so.

“I expressed my disgust with the company about how they handled this situation and told my HR rep that I would not lose a personal [day] over this, and how [shameful] it was for them to now punish me and others who left because of this virus,” the employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, said in an email.
Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Automakers shut North American plants over COVID-19 fears

Global News has reached out to Toyota Canada for more information.

As of Thursday, Waterloo Region has 12 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.