The federal government has moved quickly to get money into the pockets of workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis, but the new CERB program leaves a glaring loophole that affects many Unifor members.
Hundreds of thousands of workers in Canada have access to Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) payments when they are on layoff. These special, employer-paid benefit “top-ups” can provide hundreds of dollars, per week, to offset a worker’s loss of income.
Unlike regular EI, the CERB rules deny workers these SUB payments.
There is a simple fix to this problem that Unifor already proposed in a letter to Minister Qualtrough. In order to ensure this change is made before members are denied the CERB, all affected workers must add their voices.
Together, we can ensure that members have full access to the benefits we have bargained.
COVID-19 Update, March 25th
I want to acknowledge how difficult this time is for you, your family, and so many Unifor members who are dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty of the pandemic’s effects.
I also want to personally thank everyone working in frontline essential service jobs across so many sectors who are keeping us all connected as more health restrictions are being introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
This is an unprecedented time for us all and rest assured that your union is working around the clock to pressure employers and government to enact measures that will protect your health, your income and your job security.
The government of Ontario will provide a fiscal update tomorrow at 4 p.m. that will include its COVID-19 strategy.
We need your help to send a message to Ford to enact Unifor’s COVID-19 proposals immediately in advance of tomorrow’s fiscal update.
Many measures our union has called for have been implemented including protections for those workers in quarantine or in self-isolation as well as changes to Employment Insurance. All of the details can be found on Unifor’s COVID-19 website.
So far, the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 strategy has been criticized by health authorities as slow, incremental, and potentially ineffective. Reports are mounting of exorbitant wait-times and delays with COVID-19 testing. Ford’s cuts to health care in our province are undoubtedly having an effect on our capacity to respond to the public health emergency.
The end of the month is approaching and Ontarians are facing bills, mortgages, and rents while the government still has not indicated if it will introduce emergency funds for those affected by the pandemic.
Lastly, the Ford government hasn’t adequately protected long-term care residents and Personal Support Workers by addressing the staffing shortages in this province.
Together, these issues are creating the conditions for an unimaginable public health and economic crisis in the province.
Will you send a message to Ford to enact Unifor’s COVID-19 proposals immediately?
Share a message on social media as soon as possible using the suggested text below and the shareable image here and tell Doug Ford to adequately protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
I’m calling on @FordNation to protect me and flatten the #COVIDOntario curve with real measures protect my health, income and job. That includes $1 billion in health care funding to protect long-term care workers and residents by addressing the #PSWCrisis
Naureen Rizvi Ontario Regional Director
We are living in unprecedented times. COVID-19 has created an alarming situation for all working people, and that includes Unifor members in Canada. Over the past few days, we have been listening and responding to many of you who have expressed concerns and questions about the economic fallout of the pandemic.
In hospitality and gaming, education, retail, airlines, auto and more, we are facing mass layoffs. Health care workers, already pushed to the breaking point, are preparing to bravely treat patients of this pandemic, and prevent further spread in long-term care homes. In many sectors, including transportation, telecommunications, retail and pharmacies, vital work continues, and workers need protection.
Unifor is treating this situation very seriously and has created a task force, led by National Secretary Treasurer Lana Payne to provide you the latest information. This includes our list of demands from government to keep you healthy, and to mitigate financial hardship.
Unifor’s position is that federal and provincial governments are not acting fast enough to properly stop the spread of the coronavirus before our health care system is completely overrun, and before more Canadians get sick.
Jerry wrote to the federal government on March 12 to make key demands that would protect workers. Without the adequate response measures in place, too many workers will face a difficult choice between going to work while sick and making ends meet. Jerry has been in constant contact with politicians and policy makers, pushing for measures to assist workers.
The webpage www.unifor.org/covid19 is your one-stop hub for union information about the pandemic response. You will find resources and new, printable, sector specific information sheets along with regular updates from the task force. Unifor has adopted an all hands-on deck approach to supporting members during these challenging and uncertain times. We have worked every day to answer questions, communicate with employers, and call on governments to flatten the curve and respect working people in this time of crisis.
If you have questions, we have answers, about EI sickness benefits, work absences, in-person meetings, and refusing work, read our Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 .
For the latest public health information, contact your local health agency, listed here on our resources page.
We have also compiled a COVID-19 Checklist for income replacement that sets out the possible measures that may be available for income replacement events including; sickness due to COVID-19, isolation or quarantine, family care obligations, and layoff or business closures.
We do not know how this crisis will evolve. What is certain is your union will continue to monitor the situation and keep you posted on what you need to know.
Now, more than ever, we have to work together to strengthen our connection, our communities, and our vision for working people in Canada.