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COVID-19 Information & Resources

Social Services Updates

4/17/2020

Memo to Unifor members working in agencies providing violence against women residential services

This week, the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services issued a temporary order in the fight against COVID-19 that affects staff at Women’s Shelters and working in Crisis Line services.

The temporary order allows agencies in this sector to take steps to respond to, prevent and alleviate the outbreak of coronavirus and COVID-19 by carrying out measures such as:

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

Keeping you informed through the crisis

4/8/2020

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Just one month later, we’re still in the midst of what will surely be remembered as the biggest health, social and economic crisis of our time.

As we write to you with some updates from the union, we cannot help but think of the thousands of health care workers reporting to work every day. Our members, and health care workers across the country, are facing conditions that worsen by the day. They must contend with dwindling access to personal protective equipment, and yet they support the people who need them most every day. They, along with workers in the retail, transit, telecommunications, media and many other sectors, are the true heroes that will help us pull through this pandemic.

READ THE FULL LETTER HERE

NS Health Care Workers Need Assurances on Safety Equipment

4/3/2020

Five unions representing health care workers providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic are calling on government and employers to sign onto a safety protocol that would ensure these frontline workers feel protected and supported during this unprecedented time. 

The NSGEU, NSNU, CUPE, Unifor and IUOE jointly agreed to this protocol, which is similar to protocols that have recently been adopted by the provincial government and employers in Alberta and Ontario. On Monday, the protocol was sent to Premier Stephen McNeil, Health & Wellness Minister Randy Delorey, Chief Medical Officer Robert Strang, as well as Dr. Brendan Carr at the NSHA and Dr. Krista Jangaard at the IWK.

READ THE FULL MEDIA RELEASE HERE

Reach out to the people you care about.

4/2/2020

Chances are, you or someone you know is struggling with increased anxiety, elevated symptoms of depression or is struggling with an addiction. It’s hard to know how to be supportive at the best of times, and isolation and quarantine create an added level of difficulty in supporting people you care about.

Reaching out to those experiencing mental illness during this time is as important as ever.  

Check in with your friends, family, and colleagues and talk about mental health. Talk about the plans you might put in place to manage loneliness and how you’ll cope with this sudden way-of-life shift because of COVID-19. Make a plan to check in regularly and support each other through this crisis.

Unifor commends Trudeau government for moving on more significant wage replacement plan

3/31/2020

TORONTO – Following weeks of piecemeal announcements, Unifor commends the federal government for expanding eligibility of a 75 per cent wage subsidy to include large and small employers in Canada.

“We have said from day one that no worker should be forced to bear the economic cost of flattening the curve alone. We are completely united as a country in the efforts to slow this virus, and that must include taking care of workers who have lost their income or facing layoff,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

READ THE FULL MEDIA RELEASE HERE

Revised: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

3/25/2020

COVID-19 is a pandemic illness. Public health agencies are monitoring the outbreak of this illness
and providing public health and infection control guidance. That guidance is evolving rapidly. In
the meantime, many workplace issues are developing about COVID-19. FAQ revised on March 25 to reflect recent government announcements.

Download the full FAQ document here

Employers sabotage worker access to EI benefits, Great Canadian Casino workers speak out

3/24/2020

TORONTO – Unifor calls on all employers to adhere to Service Canada’s demand that COVID-19 related work shortages be coded appropriately, instead of blocking workers’ access to EI.

“Some employers are sabotaging workers’ access to EI benefits and it has to stop,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Workers from across Canada are being delayed access to EI benefits because employers are miscoding Records of Employment.”

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

Ford must re-invest $1 billion in health care to fight COVID-19

3/24/2020

TORONTO—Unifor is urging the Government of Ontario to strengthen its COVID-19 strategy, restore $1 billion in health spending and adopt a series of policies to protect the health and economic security of Ontarians in advance of tomorrow’s economic update.

“By all estimations, the pandemic will get worse before it gets better. We need the Ontario government to abandon its piecemeal approach to this crisis,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Doug Ford’s slow-moving approach to this crisis will bring a whole host of economic perils for Ontarians that his government has not begun to address.”

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

Media must be included in COVID-19 emergency plan: Unifor

3/23/2020

TORONTO – Unifor is calling on the federal government to ensure that Canadian media organizations survive the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to provide vital information to the public.

“Almost every Canadian newspaper and television news outlet was teetering on the brink before the pandemic hit,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Our media companies are experiencing unprecedented dips in advertising revenues, resulting in catastrophic losses.”

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

Unifor leading call for retail worker protections and wage premiums

3/23/2020

TORONTO – Unifor calls on all retailers to match wage premiums and enhanced health and safety protocols in recognition of front-line service workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.



“We recognize the tremendous risk workers are taking and thank them for their dedication during these unprecedented times,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Unifor continues to call on retailers to recognize the importance of their front-line workers and to compensate them fairly during the crisis.”



READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

Unifor watching closely as Ontario hospitals given emergency powers

3/22/2020

TORONTO— Unifor health care members understand the need for the Ontario government’s temporary order giving hospitals extraordinary emergency powers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but the union cautions employers not to exert unnecessary force, and show respect for front-line workers while enacting the order.

“Unifor recognizes that this is not business as usual but we will be watching closely how hospitals use these special powers to manage this pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Health care workers understand the motive and goals of this temporary order. However, let me be crystal clear, we will monitor every workplace change and will not allow employers to abuse their powers with this order to cut front-line health workers or infringe upon workers’ rights.”

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

Revised: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

3/19/2020

COVID-19 is a pandemic illness. Public health agencies are monitoring the outbreak of this illness
and providing public health and infection control guidance. That guidance is evolving rapidly. In
the meantime, many workplace issues are developing about COVID-19. FAQ revised on March 19 to reflect recent government announcements.

Download the full FAQ document here

Every worker must be paid fairly, says Unifor on federal COVID-19 response

3/19/2020

TORONTO – The continued rapid spread of COVID-19 disease calls for a more drastic response from government, says Unifor, which has outlined a package of urgent recommendations designed to make income assistance more accessible, and bring more money to workers in need.

“The significant policy package announced yesterday shows that the Government of Canada understands the seriousness of the crisis, but there are still some workers who will fall between the cracks of the EI system,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

Unifor is fighting to protect workers from COVID-19

3/18/2020

We are living in unprecedented times. The window to flatten the curve is closing fast, and so is the opportunity to minimize the economic fallout of a pandemic. COVID-19 has created an uncertain and challenging situation for all working people, including Unifor members across Canada.

In hospitality and gaming, education, retail, airlines 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 and telecommunications, in grocery stores and pharmacies, vital work continues and workers need protection.

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

Unifor Regional Directors’ letter to Premiers regarding the COVID-19 pandemic

3/18/2020

To all Premiers across Canada,

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis without precedent and requires unprecedented cooperation and action from all levels of government to adequately protect the health and safety of everyone in Canada.

Time is of the essence. Alongside urgent efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, workers are not only concerned for their health but are bracing for massive economic disruption, from reduced work hours to cancelled shifts to layoffs. Governments appear to grasp the extent of this crisis, and some have taken important first steps to support workers and their families, while others have been slow to act.  There can be no delay. Action is needed now.

READ THE FULL LETTER HERE

DOWNLOAD THE LETTER HERE

COVID-19 Resources for Local Unions

3/17/2020

To Local Union Presidents,

In the past five days, the situation regarding COVID-19 had moved quickly and created an unprecedented situation for many working people and Unifor members in Canada.

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.
 

READ THE FULL LETTER HERE

DOWNLOAD THE LETTER HERE

In the midst of pandemic, bold action is required

3/16/2020

By Jerry Dias

We are living in unprecedented times.

The Covid-19 pandemic exposes the strengths and weaknesses of public health systems around the world. The necessary responses to that pandemic are testing broader social safety nets, many of which have been damaged by years of austerity. As many economies fall into likely recession, governments are demonstrating their capacity, or lack thereof, to respond to this tremendous challenge.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

3/16/2020

COVID-19 is a pandemic illness. Public health agencies are monitoring the outbreak of this illness
and providing public health and infection control guidance. That guidance is evolving rapidly. In
the meantime, many workplace issues are developing about COVID-19.

Download the full FAQ document here

Hospitality and Gaming Council update

3/13/2020

Greetings,

Unifor Hospitality and Gaming Council calls on industry, government to work together to address looming COVID-19 crisis

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, it is critical that workers in Canada’s hospitality and gaming sector receive adequate information, guidance, and support from our industry, employers, governments, and public health officials. Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the hospitality and gaming sector with 20,000 members across the country, and as such, we believe it is important for Unifor’s Hospitality and Gaming Council to comment on the impact of COVID-19 on our industry and the measures we can take to reduce the risk for workers and the travelling public.

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

NS joint union statement on protection for health care workers

3/13/2020

Yesterday, March 12, representatives from the NSGEU, NSNU, CUPE and Unifor met with officials from government, the Nova Scotia Health Authority, infection control specialists, and the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Strang.

At this meeting, we called on the Nova Scotia government to uphold the precautionary principle when it comes to providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers.

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

COVID-19 Update to Locals

3/13/2020
Dear local unions:
We know you have been following the day-to-day developments of the COVID-19 pandemic in our country and all over the world. We are seeing the impact on workers and their families and we would like to update you on a number of measures and actions being undertaken by your national union.

Do's and Don'ts for employers during COVID-19 pandemic

3/13/2020

TORONTO – Unifor is urging employers across every sector of the Canadian economy to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure and assist in slowing the spread of the pandemic to ease the impact on the health care system.

“We’re asking employers to implement systems and policies to protect all Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Don’t require sick notes from workers, waive waiting periods for sick leave under collective agreements, and realize there may be legitimate absentee issues due to school closures. These steps are vital to protecting Canadians and minimizing hardship on workers and their families.”

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

Health care member memo

3/13/2020

Unifor makes worker safety a top priority and as such is calling on the federal and provincial governments to dedicate resources to the protection of all health care workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, the union is advising governments to uphold the precautionary principle when it comes to providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers. As outlined by Justice Campbell following the SARS crisis in 2003, the precautionary principle says that in the absence of scientific certainty on how an illness is spread, we must err on the side of caution and protect workers.

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE

Unifor urges Ottawa to proactively protect workers from COVID-19 virus

3/5/2020

Toronto - Unifor is calling on Ottawa to take immediate steps to protect workers as COVID-19 spreads around the globe.

“Emergency supports are needed now for all workers in workplaces affected by COVID-19, to protect their health and provide job stability and income assistance in the event of shift reductions or layoffs,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE