CUPE 716 Constitution

The Constitution and Bylaws Ad Hoc Committee has completed the required reviews and the amendments received 2/3 membership endorsement in October, November and December of 2019 meetings.

It was reviewed and approved by the National President’s Office in February of 2020 and the recommended amendments will be made when the next major revision is undertaken.

CUPE 716 Constitution & Bylaws to the National Constitution – FINAL 2020

DID YOU KNOW – Quarantine

What happens when I am asked to quarantine and not sick?   Here is the answer we have received from the District…as of September 9th, 2020

At this time, it is not covered under Work Safe. That could change, but for now:

  1. If someone is in quarantine or self-isolation and are acting in accordance with an order of the provincial health officer, an order made under the Quarantine Act (Canada), guidelines from the BC Centre for Disease Control or guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada (due to exposure at work, home or in the community).

A) they may access their paid sick leave for the 14 day quarantine period

B) if they have no sick leave, it would be coded as a COVID-19 unpaid leave and they will be eligible to apply for government benefits.

  1. This would not apply to someone who travels and returns from overseas. Their quarantine would be a COVID-19 unpaid leave (they could still apply for government benefits).


We are always here for you and are working hard to make this transition as smooth and safe as possible.  Don’t hesitate to be in contact with your rep or steward. 

 

Did you know… Few reminders from Stacey Robinson and Nancy Williams

Accommodations:

If you are seeking an accommodation, as per our Collective Agreement, please note the steps below:

• Member needs to contact , preferably by email, Lori Campion, Senior Manager, Human Resources at lcampion@sd38.bc.ca
• Lori will send you a letter, “Request for Accommodation”, read and if it applies to you, return with the necessary documentation to Lori Campion.
• Member will need to see their doctor and get a letter with their recommendations.
• Member returns necessary forms to Lori Campion. At this time it will be determined whether you meet the criteria for an accommodation.
• If the Accommodation request is declined the employee has the option to apply for a unpaid leave.
Please note: Accommodations are for high risk groups and are based on the employee’s medical issues – not those of family members, etc.

Unpaid Leave(s):

If a member decides to go on unpaid leave they need to be aware that they will be able to keep their position at their location for up to six (6) months. If the unpaid leave continues after six (6) months, the member will lose their position at their location and go on regular unassigned. Employee benefits will continue for one month once leave has started. Employees have the option of paying into the medical plan to continue their benefits by contacting Hardel Grewall in Payroll.

Subs:

When EA Subs are called out by ADS (Automatic Dispatch System), this system will try to send out the same sub to the same location – this will hopefully keep movement between locations to a minimum.

All other subs (ie: clerical, operations, etc.) the same protocol will be applied.

With reference to Safety Protocol training for subs – this will be provided to the Sub by the Administration at each individual location.

Calling In Sick & Atrieve:

If you are reporting a sick day, either by entering into Atrieve (before 4:00am) or calling the callboard (604-668-6221 after 4am) you will need to supply a reason (ie: doctor/dentist’s appointments or being sick) This will be especially important as it could effect your sick leave and/or sick leave pay. You will need to specify if you are displaying any COVID symptoms and will be required to call 811 and take the next steps. If you are tested for COVID and it comes back negative, you will still be required to stay at home until your original symptoms have cleared up. You will utilize your sick pay, whether you have tested positive for COVID or not, as you are displaying illness.

Sick pay cannot be utilized as a preventative measure.

 

Province Approves All School Board Safety Plans

Education Minister Rob Fleming announced this afternoon that all K-12 safety plans have been approved. Most safety plans, which required input from CUPE locals, are now available for review on individual district web sites.

CUPE members will be returning to schools on September 8 for orientation on the safety plans. The plans will be monitored and adapted as needed to ensure safety for students and staff throughout the evolving situation of the pandemic. In addition to health and safety measures, the plans include:

  • how learning groups will be organized;
  • when masks are required;
  • daily schedules for classes, lunch and recess;
  • daily health assessment requirements;
  • pick-up and drop off times;
  • protocols for common areas;
  • hand washing directions;
  • orientation information.

 

School districts will contact all families to confirm if they are planning for their child to attend school classes in September, or if they need alternative learning options such as remote learning.

Minister Fleming talked about additional funding through the Province as well as the federal funding announced today. The government release notes that while schools may look different in different communities, all school districts are also required to follow operational guidelines developed by a provincial steering committee made up of parents, teachers, support workers, Indigenous rightsholders, school leaders and trustees. School districts were also required to consult local First Nations on the development of their plans.

“There is no better place than in-class learning. With these plans now in place, parents can feel confident about sending their children back to school and assured that strict health and safety measures are in place to protect students and staff.”

— Education Minister Rob Fleming

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$2B in federal funding for K-12 Restart

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced more than $2 billion in federal funding to help provinces and territories re-open schools safely. The money can be used to help adapt learning spaces, improve air ventilation, increase hand sanitation and hygiene, and buy additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies. The funding is being allocated based on the number of children aged four to 18 years old in each province and territory, with a $2 million base amount for each jurisdiction. B.C. is allocated $242.4 million. According to a CBC report, Trudeau said that the money is meant only to top up provincial resources and comes with no strings attached.

Human Rights, New Powers of the Commission and Few Notes About Accommodation

Members may be aware of the Human Rights Tribunal, established pursuant the Human Rights Code RSBC 1996, c 210, to hear complaints brought to it by action that alleges contraventions of the enforceable clauses of the Code.  The Code, among other provisions, establishes the prohibited grounds for which Employers are prohibited to discriminate in Sec 13 of the Code, which include inalienable characteristics of a human being such as race, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and others, or those which are a matter of personal conviction in a free and democratic society such as religion and political views.

Discrimination in employment

13(1)A person must not

(a)refuse to employ or refuse to continue to employ a person, or

(b)discriminate against a person regarding employment or any term or condition of employment

because of the race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or age of that person or because that person has been convicted of a criminal or summary conviction offence that is unrelated to the employment or to the intended employment of that person.

(2)An employment agency must not refuse to refer a person for employment for any reason mentioned in subsection (1).

(3)Subsection (1) does not apply

(a)as it relates to age, to a bona fide scheme based on seniority, or

(b)as it relates to marital status, physical or mental disability, sex or age, to the operation of a bona fide retirement, superannuation or pension plan or to a bona fide group or employee insurance plan, whether or not the plan is the subject of a contract of insurance between an insurer and an employer.

(4)Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply with respect to a refusal, limitation, specification or preference based on a bona fide occupational requirement.

 

Unionized members do not need to file a claim of discrimination through the Tribunal, because a grievance procedure is able to provide for the same or similar remedy as would the Tribunal process, and a labour arbitrator has the same powers to that effect. Where a member has been terminated from employment, and advances an argument that they were unjustly terminated due to failure to consider an accommodation, the Human Rights Tribunal additionally will only award damages, whereas the labour arbitrator may reinstate the employee to employment, which is another reason why in a unionized setting we would proceed via grievance, rather than a complaint to the Tribunal.

However, members may not be aware of the HR Commission, a body established to proactively investigate and make recommendations pertaining to the advancement of human rights more broadly, rather than the Tribunal which hears specific complaints brought to it by application.

On Aug 4, 2020, with Black Lives Matter demonstrations happening in the United States, Royal assent was given to the amendments enacted by the government of British Columbia to the Code that give the Commission greater powers to conduct its work which include:

  • The Legislative Assembly or any of its committees can refer a matter to the Commissioner at any time for an inquiry and a report. The Human Rights Commissioner is tasked with promoting and protecting human rights. If the Commissioner chooses to accept the referral, the Commissioner is required to inquire into the matter and create a written report for the Legislative Assembly. If the Commissioner chooses to not accept the referral, written reasons must be provided to the Legislative Assembly.
  • If the Commissioner determines that an inquiry into a matter would serve to promote or protect human rights, the Commissioner is given the power to inquire into that matter. The inquiry may be done publicly.
  • While conducting an inquiry, the Commissioner is given broad powers to gather information, including ordering a person to attend an interview or produce records to the Commissioner. This order may be filed with the Supreme Court and has the same force and effect as if it were a judgment of the Supreme Court.
  • Once an inquiry has concluded, the Commissioner may make a written report outlining any recommendations the Commissioner determines are appropriate. If the recommendation relates to a person, the Commissioner may require that person to notify the commissioner of action taken, or action that’s intended to be taken to address the recommendation. If the person does not address the recommendation within an adequate period of time, the Commissioner may write a report about that individual’s failure. This report may be published and provided to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
  • It is an offence to willfully make a false statement to the Commissioner, obstruct, mislead, or attempt to mislead the Commissioner in the performance of duties under the Code. A person who commits this offense may face a monetary fine.

It is important to remember that discrimination itself is not prohibited where based in bona fide requirements.  An employer must not generally discriminate on the basis of disability, for example, but where the requirements of the job require a particular ability, such as those of physical fitness for police officers, for example, the employer may discriminate against someone with a disability or inability to attain a particular fitness standard.

Continuing with the example of a police officer, where the police officer is initially employed, and becomes disabled later, the employer is not required to keep the police officer employed in his previous capacity due to his new disability, but is required to accommodate him in another capacity, wherever and as much as possible, up to a point of undue hardship.  In this example, then, the disabled police officer may no longer be capable of working in a frontline capacity, but could do many other ancilliary jobs, such as dispatch, court document delivery, clerical support, teaching cadets, and so on. The employee, the employer and the union are all part of a nexus of interested parties, all of whom are required to participate and actively work toward an acceptable accommodation of a disabled employee.

Sometimes an employee may request an accommodation to prevent further complications of an illness or injury, such as those living with immunocompromised health.  In those circumstances, the accommodation process is much more difficult, since the number of conditions that could impact on a person’s health could effectively render the employee unemployable, and have the employer reach the point of undue hardship quickly.  Closer to our circumstances, an employee may make a claim that they are unable to attend to work in September due to the Coronavirus pandemic, since their age and health status make them high at risk of contracting the virus.  What should be the process and the outcome of such a request, legally speaking?

Let’s consider this issue carefully, giving some analysis of each of the steps of the process and some theory behind it.

Request for accommodation:

In this theoretical example, the employee is requesting to be accommodated.  But, it is possible that the employee has a very specific view of what an accommodation is, and possibly an incorrect view.  The Employer and the Employee are in a contract of employment.  In a unionized context, the Union is actually in a contract with the Employer on behalf of a collective of employees.  This contract requires the employee to attend to work as agreed and perform the functions of their employment; the Employer is required to pay them for such duties, provide managerial direction and supervision and communicate with the employee in the event of required changes, performance concerns and all those things which form the customary duty of management.

A request for an accommodation is asking the Employer to examine the workplace and see if a better fit could be made giving the employee special preferrential treatment due to their health concerns.  The accommodation is not a process whereby the employee is excused from working, to be able to remain at home while keeping employment status – that process would require an application for a leave on the basis of medical concerns.  Where an accommodation has the outcome of determining that an employee should remain at home, that accommodation process has failed as the employee’s circumstances have been judged to go beyond undue hardship to the Employer, and word of caution, members do not want to reach this point as it effectively means they could be terminated on a non-culpable basis as no meaningful accommodation with the Employer is possible and their disability or illness is such that they can no longer be employed for the Employer.

 

Medical Documentation/Certification

In this example, we are considering an employee who makes a request for accommodation on the basis that they are at higher risk of contracting Coronavirus. What sort of medical information would an employee need to provide?

In the case of our disabled police officer above who was injured on the job and became a parapalegic, the limitations of his abilities are very clear: he must use a wheelchair, he cannot run, walk, jump over fences, etc.  All this information would be provided by his physician to his employer to aid in the process of adequately accommodating him.

In the instance of an employee making a claim that they are at a higher risk of contracting a virus, we are dealing with a much more subjective claim – as the employee has not actually contracted any illness, may never contract the virus, and if contracting the virus, may not actually even get sick.  As such, this claim is speculative, and is asking the employer to give preferential treatment to some employees over others, which is a request not for equity or equality, but for privilege, and therefore has to be appropriately justified by medical information.  A medical doctor will be required, likely, to certify that in their professional opinion, the patient is at elevated risk to that of the average person, and provide the grounds for such an assessment.  In effect, the doctor is making a guess, but it is an informed scientific guess rather than anxiety about contracting the virus any person might have.

By analogy, a person may make a claim that they are at higher risk of falling down due to their anxiety about falling down, and request of the employer to work from home, since the possibility of an incident of falling down at their home lowers their anxiety about falling down, which has the effect of actually having them not fall down or having them fall down less.  In this case, the Employer would be looking at a situation that has not happened, and considering significantly altering their operation to prevent the employee from experiencing something that has not happened, may not ever happen, all on the belief, that it may possibly happen.  To put simply, the employer would not be required to accommodate this request, as the employee is not suffering from an illness or injury – but requesting to be spared the possibility of experiencing an injury.

For school district employees, the facts are actually even more straight-forward since members work in front-line jobs that are not conducive to working from home with possibly the exception of clerical staff.  Since students will be in the schools, and not at home as in March, working from home is not likely to be possible.

The medical information, then, would have to certify not that the employee is at elevated risk of contracting the virus alone, but is at elevated risk of not recovering from an infection as easily as an average person or having a much more complicated and difficult recovery.

 

Accommodation Outcome

What is the most likely outcome, then, in our theoretical example of an employee requesting an accommodation on the basis of heightened risk to experience negative impacts of the virus?  The most likely outcome of a bona fide request is that the employee would be given alternate duties that limited their contact with other people, such as custodial duties after the instruction day is over or in more isolated physical environs where, again, the most likely tasks will be cleaning facilities and other custodial work. Remember, the accommodation is not a process to excuse the employee from working, but to attempt and find other duties at work that meet the limitations of their illness or injury.

Under the law, the employer is not required to:

  • Create new jobs or bundle duties just to accommodate an employee
  • Pay the same rate of pay to the accommodated employee unless performing the duties of their previous job, and a lower rate of pay based in the actual duties performed is permissible
  • Promote the employee even where qualified, that is, unless the employee applies for a vacancy as per normal course and obtains a job with a higher rate of pay; the accommodation process itself cannot be used to argue the employee should work in a capacity that results in higher pay, thereby bypassing the promotion or posting language of the collective agreement and adversly impacting other employees

 

Conclusions

Members who do not wish to expose themselves to the possibility of contracting the virus, and are not convinced that it is safe to work, but who cannot meet the requirements of a bona fide accommodation, or who do not want to perform custodial duties as the likely accommodation, or whose primary purpose of the accommodation request is the hope they would be permitted to remain at home, are best to request a medical leave of absence and use their sick days for income, or simply take a leave of absence without pay if they have other means of supporting themselves.  They will not likely qualify for any of the government supports, as work is available to them, but this may be the cost of the peace of mind they are seeking in choosing not to take the risk of potential contraction of the virus.

Members who do have a medical condition that would make recovery from the virus more difficult, or would make them more succeptible to contracting the virus, can request an accommodation and should contact the Union if they run into any difficulties and need our assistance.  We remain available to you and will advocate for you including filing a grievance for failure to accommodate.

 

Should you have any more questions, feel free to post a comment below, and I will respond as soon as I can.

 

In solidarity,

Dan Todd

CUPE National Representative

Income supports for workers and students during the Coronavirus pandemic

Updated August 25, 2020

What is your situation?

I am an employee with COVID-19 and/or in isolation:

  • Your employer may have a short-term disability or sick leave program that you need to apply for before applying for other benefits. Check your collective agreement or contact your CUPE local.
  • Until September 26, if you had at least $5,000 in earnings from self-employment, employment, or EI/QPIP maternity, parental or adoption benefits in 2019 or the past 12 months, the federal government is providing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
    • To qualify for the benefit, you must have 14 consecutive days with no more than $1,000 of earnings for the first month, and no more than $1,000 of earnings for each additional month you collect the CERB.
    • The CERB pays $2,000 per four-week period, for up to 28 weeks.
    • You do not need a record of employment (ROE) from your employer or any other documentation to apply, CRA and Service Canada will do confirmation checks after the pandemic has passed.
    • You can apply now through either Service Canada or through the Canada Revenue Agency.
    • Visit CUPE’s CERB Q&A for more details: cupe.ca/canada-emergency-response-benefit-qa.
  • you were eligible to receive up to 15 weeks of EI sickness benefits. If you are still unable to work after having exhausted your EI sickness benefits, you can apply for the CERB until September 26. After that, you will need to accumulate 120 hours of insurable earnings in order to qualify for further EI sick leave.
  • As of September 27, if you are either commencing sick leave or transitioning from the CERB, you will have access to EI sickness benefits or the new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB).
    • If you had at least 120 hours of insurable earnings in the past 52 weeks or since your last EI claim, you may qualify for up to 15 weeks of EI sickness benefits with a minimum benefit level of $400 a week. For more information on EI sickness benefits, check out the section below.
    • If you do not qualify for EI sickness benefits but you had at least $5,000 of employment or self-employment income in either 2019 or 2020, and you have missed at least 60% of your scheduled work week due to illness or self-isolation, you can apply for the CRSB.
    • The CRSB will provide a flat rate benefit of $500 a week for two weeks.
    • You cannot be receiving any other form of paid sick leave while receiving the CRSB.
    • The benefit must be applied for retroactively (after the time period has passed) through the CRA. Applications will open in October.
  • Your job will be protected during this leave of absence by federal and provincial legislation.

I am an employee caring for a family member who is sick with COVID-19:

  • You may have “ill dependent leave” or other provisions of your collective agreement which provide paid leave. Check your collective agreement or contact your CUPE local.
  • Until September 26, if you have at least $5,000 in earnings from self-employment, employment, or EI/QPIP maternity, parental or adoption benefits in 2019 or the past 12 months, the federal government is providing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
    • To qualify for the benefit, you must have 14 consecutive days with no more than $1,000 in earnings for the first month, and no more than $1,000 of earnings for each additional month you collect the CERB.
    • The CERB pays $2,000 per four-week period, for up to 28 weeks.
    • You can apply through either Service Canada or the CRA.
    • You do not need a record of employment (ROE) from your employer or any other documentation to apply, the CRA and Service Canada will do confirmation checks after the pandemic has passed.
    • Visit CUPE’s CERB Q&A for more details: cupe.ca/canada-emergency-response-benefit-qa.
  • As of September 27, if you are either commencing caregiving leave or transitioning from the CERB, you will have access to EI caregiver benefits or the new Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).
    • If you had at least 120 hours of insurable earnings in the past 52 weeks or since your last EI claim and your family member is critically ill, you may qualify for up to 15 weeks of EI caregiver benefits for a sick adult or 35 weeks for a sick child with a minimum benefit level of $400 a week. For more information on EI caregiver benefits, check out the section below.
    • If you do not qualify for EI caregiver benefits but you had at least $5,000 of employment or self-employment income in either 2019 or 2020, and you have missed at least 60% of your scheduled work week due to the need to provide care to a dependent, you can apply for the CRCB.
    • If a child’s school or daycare facility is open, a note from a medical practitioner certifying that the child cannot attend for medical reasons is required.
    • Eligibility for the benefit can be shared but only one member of the household may be receiving the benefit at a time.
    • The CRCB will provide a flat rate benefit of $500 a week for up to 26 weeks.
    • The benefit must be applied for retroactively (after the time period has passed). Applications can be submitted through the CRA beginning in October.
  • Your job will be protected during this leave of absence by federal and provincial legislation.

I am an employee who needs to stay home from work in order to provide care for my children due to school or child care closures:

  • Until September 26, if you have at least $5,000 in earnings from self-employment, employment, or EI/QPIP maternity, parental or adoption benefits in 2019 or the past 12 months, the federal government is providing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
    • To qualify for the benefit, you must have 14 consecutive days with no more than $1,000 in earnings for the first month, and no more than $1,000 of earnings for each additional month you collect the CERB.
    • The CERB pays $2,000 per four-week period for up to 24 weeks.
    • You can apply through either Service Canada or the CRA.
    • You do not need a record of employment (ROE) from your employer or any other documentation to apply, the CRA and Service Canada will do confirmation checks after the pandemic has passed.
    • Visit CUPE’s CERB Q&A for more details: cupe.ca/canada-emergency-response-benefit-qa.
  • As of September 27, you will have access to the new Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).
    • You must have had at least $5,000 of employment or self-employment income in either 2019 or 2020 in order to be eligible and you must have missed at least 60% of your scheduled work week due to the need to provide care to a dependent.
    • If a child’s school or daycare facility is open, a note from a medical practitioner certifying that the child cannot attend for medical reasons is required.
    • Eligibility for the benefit can be shared but only one member of the household may be receiving the benefit at a time.
    • The CRCB will provide a flat rate benefit of $500 a week for up to 26 weeks.
    • The benefit must be applied for retroactively (after the time period has passed). Applications can be submitted through the CRA beginning in October.

I am an employee whose employer has closed and/or limited service or production (permanently or temporarily).

  • Check your collective agreement to see how much notice or compensation your employer is required to give you. In large-scale layoffs, sometimes the notice provision is greater than for an individual employee. If you are unsure, check with your CUPE local.
  • Until September 26, if you have at least $5,000 in earnings from self-employment, employment, or EI/QPIP maternity, parental or adoption benefits in 2019 or the past 12 months, the federal government is providing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
    • To qualify for the benefit, you must have 14 consecutive days with no more than $1,000 in earnings for the first month, and no more than $1,000 of earnings for each additional month you collect the CERB.
    • The CERB pays $2,000 per four-week period for up to 28 weeks.
    • You can apply through either Service Canada or the CRA.
    • You do not need a record of employment (ROE) from your employer or any other documentation to apply, the CRA and Service Canada will do confirmation checks after the pandemic has passed.
    • Visit CUPE’s CERB Q&A for more details: cupe.ca/canada-emergency-response-benefit-qa.
  • If your employer does not lay you off but gives you fewer hours of work or an unpaid leave for at least 14 consecutive days during a four-week period, you may qualify for the CERB as long as your income is below $1000 a month.
  • If you opened an EI claim in the past 52 weeks and have not used all available weeks of benefits, and you have worked enough hours to be eligible for a new EI claim, you can choose to either reactivate your existing EI claim or apply for the CERB.
  • As of September 27, if you are either laid off or transitioning from the CERB, you will have access to EI regular benefits or the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).
    • If you have 120 hours of insurable employment in the past 52 weeks or since your last EI claim, you may qualify for EI regular benefits for between 26 and 45 weeks, with a guaranteed minimum benefit of $400 a week. For more information on EI regular benefits, check out the section on EI below.
    • If you do not qualify for EI regular benefits but you had at least $5,000 of employment or self-employment income in either 2019 or 2020 and you are available and looking for work, you will be eligible to receive the new CRB.
    • This benefit will provide a flat rate payment of $400 a week for up to 26 weeks.
    • You must have stopped working or had your hours reduced due to the pandemic, but a Record of Employment from your employer is not required.
    • If your annual earnings in the calendar year exceed $38,000, you will be expected to repay the benefit on your annual income tax return at a rate of 50% on the dollar (so that the full benefit is repaid if you exceed $46,000 in annual income).
    • You can apply for this benefit through the CRA beginning in October.

I am a permanent employee whose employer has reduced production/hours due to the economic situation or public health concerns.

  • A reduction in hours is still considered a layoff so check your collective agreement to see how much notice or compensation your employer is required to give you. For assistance in interpreting your collective agreement, contact your CUPE local.
  • If your employer believes the slowdown will continue for a period longer than six weeks, they can apply for a Work-Sharing arrangement (if they are an eligible employer). Once your employer has submitted the required paperwork and been approved, employees on Work- Sharing can work part-time while receiving EI benefits part-time.
  • Your employer may qualify for a wage subsidy that will pay up to 75 per cent of your salary in order to keep employees on the payroll. Contact your CUPE local to find out if your employer might be eligible for the CEWS. More details are available from the federal government.
  • Until September 26, if your employer does not lay you off but gives you fewer hours of work or an unpaid leave for at least 14 consecutive days during a four-week period, you may qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
    • You need to have had at least $5,000 in earnings from self-employment, employment, or EI/QPIP maternity, parental or adoption benefits in 2019 or the past 12 months to qualify.
    • To qualify for the benefit, you must have 14 consecutive days with no more than $1,000 in earnings for the first month, and no more than $1,000 of earnings for each additional month you collect the CERB.
    • The CERB pays $2,000 per four-week period for up to 28 weeks.
    • You can apply through either Service Canada or the CRA.
    • You do not need a Record of Employment (ROE) from your employer or any other documentation to apply, the CRA and Service Canada will do confirmation checks after the pandemic has passed.
    • Visit CUPE’s CERB Q&A for more details cupe.ca/canada-emergency-response-benefit-qa.
  • If you opened an EI claim in the past 52 weeks and have not used all available weeks of benefits, and you have worked enough hours to be eligible for a new EI claim, you can choose to either reactivate your existing EI claim or apply for the CERB.
  • As of September 27, if you are either laid off or transitioning from the CERB, you will have access to EI regular benefits or the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).
    • If you have 120 hours of insurable employment in the past 52 weeks or since your last EI claim, you may qualify for EI regular benefits for between 26 and 45 weeks, with a guaranteed minimum benefit of $400 a week. For more information on EI regular benefits, check out the section on EI below.
    • If you do not qualify for EI regular benefits but you had at least $5,000 of employment or self-employment income in either 2019 or 2020 and you are available and looking for work, you will be eligible to receive the new CRB.
    • This benefit will provide a flat rate payment of $400 a week for up to 26 weeks.
    • You must have stopped working or had your hours reduced due to the pandemic, but a Record of Employment from your employer is not required.
    • If your annual earnings in the calendar year exceed $38,000, you will be expected to repay the benefit on your annual income tax return at a rate of 50% on the dollar (so that the full benefit is repaid if you exceed $46,000 in annual income).
    • You can apply for this benefit through the CRA beginning in October.

I am a temporary employee whose employer has reduced production/hours due to the economic situation or public health concerns.

  • You may have rights under your collective agreement. Contact your CUPE local.
  • If you are a term or a contract employee who has maintained similar working hours to permanent part-time or full-time employees, you may be eligible for a Work-Sharing arrangement (if your employer is eligible). Once your employer has submitted the required paperwork and been approved, employees on Work-Sharing can work part-time while receiving EI benefits part-time. More information about changes to EI Work Sharing is available from the federal government: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing.html
  • If you are a seasonal employee or you are a temporary employee or student who does not work typical hours, you are not eligible for Work-Sharing.
  • Your employer may qualify for a wage subsidy that will pay up to 75 per cent of your salary for three months in order to keep employees on the payroll. Contact your CUPE Local to find out if your employer might be eligible for the CEWS. More details are available from the federal government.
  • Until September 26, if your employer does not lay you off but gives you fewer hours of work or an unpaid leave for at least 14 consecutive days during a four-week period you may qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
    • You need to have had at least $5,000 in earnings from self-employment, employment, or EI/QPIP maternity, parental or adoption benefit in 2019 or the past 12 months to qualify.
    • To qualify for the benefit, you must have 14 consecutive days with no more than $1,000 in earnings for the first month, and no more than $1,000 of earnings for each additional month you collect the CERB.
    • The CERB pays $2,000 per four-week period for up to 28 weeks.
    • You can apply through either Service Canada or the CRA.
    • You do not need a Record of Employment (ROE) from your employer or any other documentation to apply, CRA and Service Canada will do confirmation checks after the pandemic has passed.
    • Visit CUPE’s CERB Q&A for more details: cupe.ca/canada-emergency-response-benefit-qa.
  • If you opened an EI claim in the past 52 weeks and have not used all available weeks of benefits, and you have worked enough hours to be eligible for a new EI claim, you can choose to either reactivate your existing EI claim or apply for the CERB.
  • As of September 27, if you are either laid off or transitioning from the CERB, you will have access to EI regular benefits or the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).
    • If you have 120 hours of insurable employment in the past 52 weeks or since your last EI claim, you may qualify for EI regular benefits for between 26 and 45 weeks, with a guaranteed minimum benefit of $400 a week. For more information on EI regular benefits, check out the section on EI below.
    • If you do not qualify for EI regular benefits but you had at least $5,000 of employment or self-employment income in either 2019 or 2020 and you are available and looking for work, you will be eligible to receive the new CERB.
    • This benefit will provide a flat rate payment of $400 a week for up to 26 weeks.
    • You must have stopped working or had your hours reduced due to the pandemic, but a Record of Employment from your employer is not required.
    • If your annual earnings in the calendar year exceed $38,000, you will be expected to repay the benefit on your annual income tax return at a rate of 50% on the dollar (so that the full benefit is repaid if you exceed $46,000 in annual income).
    • You can apply for this benefit through the CRA beginning in October.

I am a seasonal worker whose employer has indicated they will not be calling me back for work due to the economic situation or public health concerns.

  • You may have rights under your collective agreement. Contact your CUPE local.
  • Until September 26, if you received at least one week of EI benefits after December 29, 2019, and you have exhausted your EI benefits, you may qualify for the CERB.
    • You need to have had at least $5,000 in earnings from self-employment, employment, or EI/QPIP maternity, parental or adoption benefit in 2019 or the past 12 months to qualify.
    • To qualify for the benefit, you must have 14 consecutive days with no more than $1,000 in earnings for the first month, and no more than $1,000 of earnings for each additional month you collect the CERB.
    • The CERB pays $2,000 per four-week period for up to 28 weeks.
    • You can apply through either Service Canada or the CRA.
    • You do not need a Record of Employment (ROE) from your employer or any other documentation to apply, the CRA and Service Canada will do confirmation checks after the pandemic has passed.
    • Visit CUPE’s CERB Q&A for more details: cupe.ca/canada-emergency-response-benefit-qa.
  • If you opened an EI claim in the past 52 weeks and did have not used all available weeks of benefits, and you have worked enough hours to be eligible for a new EI claim, you can choose to either reactivate your existing EI claim or apply for the CERB.
  • As of September 27, you may have access to the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).
    • If you had at least $5,000 of employment or self-employment income in either 2019 or 2020 and you are available and looking for work, you will be eligible to receive the new CRB.
    • This benefit will provide a flat rate payment of $400 a week for up to 26 weeks.
    • You must have stopped working or had your hours reduced due to the pandemic, but a Record of Employment from your employer is not required.
    • If your annual earnings in the calendar year exceed $38,000, you will be expected to repay the benefit on your annual income tax return at a rate of 50% on the dollar (so that the full benefit is repaid if you exceed $46,000 in annual income).
    • You can apply for this benefit through the CRA beginning in October.

I am a student who has been laid off/cannot find work because of the economic situation/public health concerns.

  • Until September 26, if you were working and were laid off after March 15 due to COVID-19, you may qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
    • You need to have had at least $5,000 in earnings from self-employment, employment, or EI/QPIP maternity, parental or adoption benefit in 2019 or the past 12 months to qualify.
    • To qualify for the benefit, you must have 14 consecutive days with no more than $1,000 in earnings for the first month, and no more than $1,000 of earnings for each additional month you collect the CERB.
    • The CERB pays $2,000 per four-week period for up to 28 weeks.
    • The benefit period will be backdated to March 15. The benefit is available March 15 to October 3, 2020.
    • You can apply through either Service Canada or the CRA.
    • You do not need a Record of Employment (ROE) from your employer or any other documentation to apply, the CRA and Service Canada will do confirmation checks after the pandemic has passed.
    • Visit CUPE’s CERB Q&A for more details: cupe.ca/canada-emergency-response-benefit-qa.
  • If you had not yet started working or you can’t find a job, you may qualify for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).
    • To qualify, you need to be currently registered as a post-secondary student, have recently graduated from a post-secondary program (no earlier than December 2019) or be a high school student who will be attending a post-secondary program in the fall.
    • To be eligible, you must attest that you are looking for work.
    • Eligible students will receive $1,250 per month for the months of May through August. Students with disabilities and students with dependents will receive $2,000 per month.
    • The CESB will be delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency. You can apply through the CRA.
  • The government has also announced that non-repayable Canada Student Grants will be doubled for the 2020-21 academic year.

Other income supports available to all Canadians:

  • The federal government is providing a six-month, interest-free moratorium on all Canada Student Loan repayments.
  • The federal government is providing a one-time payment of up to $600 for individuals who have been approved for the Disability Tax Credit. The payment will be made in June.
  • The federal government will be providing a one-time payment of $300 for all seniors eligible for an Old Age Security pension, along with a one-time of $200 for all seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement. These payments will be made the first week of July.
  • Mortgage loan holders have been given permission to offer deferrals on mortgage payments.
  • At this point no federal announcement has been made for any relief to people who rent their accommodation. Some provinces have made announcements.

Employment Insurance benefits:

EI sickness benefits

  • Beginning September 27, if you cannot work because of a medical condition or because you are in quarantine, and you have worked at least 600 hours in the last year or since your last EI claim, you are eligible for up to 15 weeks of EI sickness benefits. (Note that employer-provided sick leave should be used first.)
  • Before September 27, you must apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if you need sick leave. If you apply through Service Canada, your application will be automatically transferred to EI when the CERB ends and you will not need to reapply. If your application was processed through the Canada Revenue Agency, you will need to reapply through Service Canada.
  • EI sickness benefits cover 55 per cent of your earnings to a maximum of $573 a week. Your collective agreement may also stipulate that your employer provides a top-up for some or all your period of sick leave.
  • Normally, EI benefits have a one week waiting period between the time you stop working and when you can access benefits. For Canadians who are in quarantine, the one week waiting period has been waived, so you can access benefits immediately.
  • The federal government has also established a new, dedicated toll-free number for questions about the EI sickness benefits waiting period:
    • Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free, English and French)
    • Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742
  • Applications from Canadians under quarantine will receive priority processing.
  • As well, medical certificates are normally required from a qualified medical professional in order to apply for EI sickness benefits. However, in cases where patients are required to go into quarantine by law, by a public health official, or by their employer if instructed by public health officials, the requirement to have a medical certificate is being waived. For patients put into quarantine as a precaution who test positive at a later time, a signed medical certificate will be required beyond the initial period of quarantine.
  • People who cannot apply for benefits immediately because of their period of quarantine will be able to apply later and have their claim backdated to the start of their quarantine period.
  • To apply, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness.html

EI caregiver and compassionate care benefits

  • If you cannot work because you are providing care for a critically ill family member and you have worked at least 600 hours in the last year or since your last EI claim, you are eligible for EI caregiver benefits for up to 15 weeks for a sick adult or 35 weeks for a sick child.
  • EI will pay compassionate care benefits for up to 26 weeks to a person who is providing care or support to family members who needs end-of-life care (meaning they are at significant risk of death within six months).
  • These benefits cover up to 55 per cent of your earnings to a maximum of $573 a week. Your collective agreement may also stipulate that your employer provides a top-up for some or all of your period of caregiving leave.
  • A medical certificate is required from a qualified medical professional.
  • To apply, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/caregiving/apply.html.

EI regular benefits

  • Until September 27, if you are laid off or placed on unpaid leave, you will receive a temporary Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) of $500 per week. Beginning September 27, your claim will automatically be transferred to Employment Insurance if you applied for the CERB through Service Canada. If you applied through the Canada Revenue Agency, you may need to reapply for EI through Service Canada.
  • You will need a record of employment (ROE) to apply for EI regular benefits. Your ROE must certify that you are not voluntarily quitting your position in order to be eligible. If you and your employer dispute the cause of your departure, please contact your CUPE local for assistance.
  • For the next year, the government has changed the threshold to qualify for EI regular benefits to 120 hours, regardless of where you live in the country.
  • Your EI regular benefits cover up to 55 per cent of your earnings to a maximum of $573 a week. For the next year, the federal government has set a minimum benefit level of $400 a week.
  • Everyone is eligible to receive a minimum of 26 weeks of benefits, but you may be eligible for more depending on your regional rate of unemployment and the number of insurable hours you have accumulated since your last EI claim. The maximum number of weeks of benefits available is 45.
  • To find your economic region, search by postal code at this link: https://srv129.services.gc.ca/ei_regions/eng/postalcode_search.aspx.Once you have identified your economic region and its rate of unemployment, you can determine the number of weeks of benefits you can collect by consulting the chart at the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/benefit-amount.html.

EI Work-Sharing

  • In cases where an employer has lowered the level of service or production and is willing to spread the available work among employees in order to avoid layoffs, the federal government offers work-sharing arrangements. Contact your CUPE local to find out if your employer has applied for a Work-Sharing arrangement. More information about changes to EI Work Sharing is available from the federal government: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing.html
  • To be eligible, employers must have been in business in Canada year-round for at least two years and be a private business, a publicly held company, or a not-for-profit organization.
  • In order to qualify for Work-Sharing, an employer must be facing a reduction of at least 10 per cent in normal business activity (not just revenue); the reduction must be due to circumstances beyond the employer’s control; and the employer must be committed to returning to normal levels of business. Employees must be permanent employees or temporary employees working the same hours as permanent employees, must be eligible for EI, and must agree to work reduced hours in order to equally share work among all employees.
  • Your union will be the dedicated voice for workers in your unit throughout the duration of Work-Sharing.
  • Over the course of the agreement, the reduction in work must be on average between 10 per cent and 60 per cent. Actual hours can vary per week if the average is maintained over the course of the agreement.
  • Work-sharing agreements have a minimum duration of six weeks. Due to the situation with COVID-19, the federal government has extended the maximum duration to 76 weeks.
  • While normally, there must be a waiting period in between Work-Sharing Agreements, the federal government has temporarily waived this requirement.
  • During the period of work sharing, the employer must maintain all benefits. However, benefits may be reduced if they are normally calculated on an hourly basis.
  • Once this paperwork has been approved, each worker will need to apply for EI benefits individually. Individual eligibility requirements (regarding work hours) still apply.
  • There is no waiting period for work-sharing benefits.