Unifor calls for income and benefit protection during casino shutdown

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An empty casino.

TORONTO – Unifor calls for bold and immediate action from government and employers to protect casino workers impacted by today’s announcement from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to temporarily shut down all Ontario casinos in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Government and employers are acting now to protect the health and safety of casino workers and patrons,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The result of that decision cannot leave workers vulnerable to the economic impact that this will have on their lives.” 

“Canada’s public institutions are not equipped to deal with a crisis of this magnitude, and workers must not bear the brunt of the financial hardship caused by this pandemic,” said Dias.

The union is demanding income and benefit protections for all workers during the global COVID-19 crisis.

The OLG announced the shutdown today in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, consistent with the advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. All casinos have begun a mandatory shutdown that is anticipated to be complete within 24 hours. No re-open date has been announced.

“Sectors most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis such as hospitality and gaming require immediate measures and emergency supports to protect workers’ health and safety and prevent income loss,” Dias continued.

On March 12, Unifor called on federal and provincial governments to proactively protect workers from the COVID-19 pandemic buy providing 14 paid sick days for workers who are quarantined or in, improved EI accessibility, and waived requirements for employees to produce doctor’s notes in case of illness.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and are working with members in all sectors to ensure a timely, just, and adequate response to the growing COVID-19 crisis. While workplace challenges continue to mount, we continue discussions with government officials to ensure workers and their families are protected,” said Dias.

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