We call for immediate income support for workers

Along with the Canadian labour movement, PIPSC is calling on federal and provincial governments to provide immediate income support for workers impacted by the crisis.

“This is a time for solidarity and leadership,” said PIPSC President Debi Daviau. “We have to take care of each other through this pandemic and economic downturn.”

We are calling on the federal government to immediately increase EI to support all workers and families to cope with the COVID-19 crises:

  • Increase EI support to 80% of weekly wages under the current income cap.
  • Implement a $300/week minimum EI benefit.
  • Provide EI support to claimants immediately, as soon as the claims process begins, so they don’t go without funds.

We know that Indigenous communities already face higher levels of contagious illness compared to the Canadian population as a whole. We call on all levels of government to take quick action to ensure Indigenous communities have all the resources necessary to combat COVID-19.

We join the Canadian Labour Congress in calling on all governments and employers to take every step necessary to protect workers. These measures include:

  • Permitting flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, video and teleconferencing, ending non-essential travel, and postponing unnecessary meetings and events.
  • Providing paid sick leave under short-term disability and sick leave plans while maintaining drug coverage.
  • Providing 14 days paid sick leave for workers under prevailing federal, provincial and territorial labour standards to cover the quarantine period. 
  • Waiving any requirement for a doctor’s note to permit sick leave.
  • Prohibiting coronavirus testing as a condition of continued employment.
  • Working with Service Canada to take full advantage of the improved EI Work-Sharing Program to minimize layoffs.
  • Working closely with health and safety committees and unions to provide accurate and timely information to employees about accessing benefits and support.
  • Providing compassionate care and bereavement leave support to employees, as well as mental health counselling and support.

Specific to healthcare workers, employers should, among other things:

1. Provide an adequate supply of appropriate N95 respirators on hand as well as PAPR (for aerosol-generating procedures, e.g. intubation) and other personal protective equipment.

2. Conduct a risk assessment to determine all points of potential entry (and how to restrict them) and other points of potential exposure for workers (e.g. screening, triage, isolation rooms).

“As this situation evolves, many of our members, especially the ones in the healthcare sector like our nurses in northern and indigenous communities, will bear the brunt of responding to this pandemic,” said Daviau. “We are proud to represent members who will do everything in their power to keep Canadians safe and healthy.”

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These are exceptional circumstances and they call for exceptional measures.