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Gaps in emergency income measures must be closed before applications open on Monday

April 3, 2020 - 12:00 AM

April 3, 2020

TORONTO – Unifor is urging federal ministers to close the gaps in new emergency income programs, so that no worker is left behind.

“Canada’s workers need access to emergency benefits. The programs put forward show a commitment to support unemployed workers, but still leaves too many questions unanswered,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “When this system opens for applications on April 6, it must be fully universal  and leave no worker worse off, as they grapple with the long-term financial challenge of this viral pandemic.”

In a letter sent on Friday , April 3 to Minister Carla Qualtrough, the union requested assurances that workers can receive Supplementary Unemployment Benefits under Employment Insurance rules and that seasonal workers qualify for emergency benefits, among other asks.

“Millions of workers have applied for financial support from the federal government in the past two weeks. This is because they need those funds to provide the necessities to survive,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director.

Unifor seeks assurances that new CERB and EI rules must expand eligibility for students, newcomers and people facing injury or disability, workers caring for those who are immunocompromised, and ensure a seamless transition to regular EI benefits, once the emergency benefits expire, with no waiting period or other claw back.

Unifor has produced this Fact Sheet on the CERB and has posted revised information about the union’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members at

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange a Skype or FaceTime interview with Jerry Dias, please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at or 416-707-5794 (cell).