Amazon Prime Day postponed in Canada amid COVID-19 outbreaks at warehouses

Amazon's annual Prime Day marketing event in Canada has been put on hold this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario's Peel Region.

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, Amazon said in a notice to sellers obtained by The Canadian Press.

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"As we continued to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in Canada, we have decided to pause plans for Prime Day 2021 in Canada," said the company.

Amazon Canada's Prime Day, an online shopping event featuring discounted products, was held on October 13 and 14 last year but had been held in July prior to the pandemic.

"We will... work with teams to determine the next best steps for Prime Day 2021," it said.

Just west of Toronto, Peel Region, which has one of the highest community COVID-19 positivity rates in Canada, is home to a number of Amazon’s major fulfilment centres.

Peel's public health unit has partially closed three Amazon fulfilment centres – two in Brampton, Ont., and one in Caledon, Ont., – in the last two weeks under its order to shut workplaces with five or more cases of COVID-19.

Amazon declined to comment on the postponement, and did not respond to questions about how many of its workers are currently infected or isolating due to COVID-19, nor did it respond to questions about access to paid sick leave benefits.

On April 20, Amazon Canada's head of communication Dave Bauer said in an email that the company was doing "everything we can to support (employees) and keep them safe through the pandemic, including investing tens of millions of dollars in health and safety measures at our Heritage Road and Bolton facilities, regularly testing all employees multiple times, and providing full pay and benefits to those self-isolating."

In March, the company was ordered to shut one of its sites in Brampton after a COVID-19 outbreak sickened more than 600 employees.

Approximately 5,000 workers at the facility were told to self-isolate for two weeks to contain the outbreak.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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