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

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A graphic reads: "Stop ET sabotage."

March 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.”

Unifor has received dozens of complaints from workers, notably those recently laid off from Great Canadian Casinos, that ROE forms are being miscoded. Service Canada has stated clearly that all ROEs must be coded as “shortage of work.” Employers who improperly code forms are causing excessive delays for workers trying to access EI.

“Workers are suffering as this crisis evolves and this error is only hurting workers and their families, and employers need to fall in line, and stop listening to a handful of law firms giving bad advice” said Dias.

The advice on Service Canada’s website to employers is very clear that workers laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic must be coded “shortage of work.”

Unifor recently urged all Members of Parliament to act quickly to address issues facing workers; including radical EI reform and emergency measures to ensure that wage loss is minimized.

“Emergency measures are needed immediately. Workers cannot wait another day while the EI system continues to fail those who need it,” continued Dias.

Unifor launched a comprehensive hub for information about the pandemic at unifor.org/COVID19 and encourages all members to visit the site regularly for updates.

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 please contact National Communications Representative, Paul Whyte at @email or 647-221-9343 (cell).