Better Pay and Benefits

New worker lockdown benefit fails to benefit workers

November 25, 2021

Liberals miss the mark with new legislation, more needed to help Canadians

Canada’s unions are disappointed in the federal government’s proposed legislation, tabled in parliament Wednesday, saying it will only entrench greater inequities and leave vulnerable and marginalized workers behind.

“This bill has been conceived so narrowly, it’s not a pivot, it pulls the rug right out from under struggling workers,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). “How would it help families in places like Alberta, where the government has dragged its feet on putting lockdowns in place, despite the widespread risk of COVID?”

Over half a million Canadians were still relying on the Canadian Recovery Benefit (CRB) before it was abruptly ended by the government, a month following the federal election. There were still 575,280 CRB recipients in the latest period, between October 10 to October 23, these numbers are provisional and once retroactive applications are accounted for, the final numbers could be much higher.

“It’s shameful that the first bill of this new government is to offer band-aid solutions that benefit businesses and employers but fail to address the concerns of workers. The bill does nothing to respond to workplace outbreaks like we’ve seen at Cargill, Amazon, and Canada Post. As opposed to targeting the workplaces and workers who need help the most, its built-in blanket geography approach is designed to fail.”

“It feels like the bill was written by the business lobby, not with the intent of continuing to help workers, many who are still unemployed and unable to qualify for EI.”

Bruske said Canada’s unions are meeting with MPs next week during the CLC’s Action Week lobby on the Hill, and will be pressing for changes to this bill and a permanent repair to our Employment Insurance system.

“Hundreds of workers from across Canada will meet with MPs and demand our elected officials choose an economy that is more equitable, more inclusive, more sustainable – and where lost jobs are replaced with better ones,” concluded Bruske.

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To arrange an interview, please contact:
CLC Media Relations
media@clcctc.ca
613-526-7426

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