In light of COVID-19, the Workers’ Action Centre has expanded our phone line hours so that you can reach us Monday to Friday. If you need help understanding how to get the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or if you have a workplace problem, call us at 416-531-0778 (Toll-free: 1-855-531-0778), and ask to speak to someone in your language. All calls are confidential!
Our phone line hours are: Monday to Friday, 12 pm to 5 pm
(We are closed on public holidays.)
We are currently receiving a lot of calls, but leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
EXTENSION OF THE FEDERAL COVID-19 RECOVERY BENEFITS
Employment Insurance and Canada Recovery Benefits were going to run out for almost one million people in March 2021. But due to our pressure, the Federal government has twice extended how long workers can access Employment Insurance and the three COVID-19 Recovery Benefits.
Between September 27th 2020 and October 23rd 2021, you can now receive a maximum of:
– 54 weeks of Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB)
– 42 weeks of Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefits (CRCB)
– 4 weeks of Canada Recovery Sickness Benefits. (CRSB)
Furthermore, if you have already received CRSB for 2 weeks due to COVID-19, you can now apply for an additional 2 weeks if you are sick or need to self-isolate again. Unfortunately, the CRB weekly benefit of $500 was reduced by 40% to only $300 on July 17, 2021.
Beginning September 26th 2021, new Employment Insurance (EI) Regular Benefit claimants will receive a minimum weekly benefit of $300 (also reduced from $500). The duration of benefits is reduced from the previous maximum of 50 weeks. Instead, it will depend on the number of insurable hours worked and your region’s unemployment rate.
The pandemic is not over, however. We need to extend these benefits until the end of the pandemic. And with migrant, undocumented and international student workers unable to receive these supports, these benefits leave too many workers out. Take action to ensure all workers receive adequate support till the pandemic is over by sending an email to your Member of Parliament today.
For more information on each Recovery Benefit, how to qualify, and how much you could receive on the Recovery Benefits, check out our our COVID-19 Recovery Benefits factsheet or give us a call.
Job-Protected Unpaid Leave During COVID-19
The Ontario government recently changed our labour rights to provide new protections.
New Job-Protected UNPAID leave for workers impacted by COVID-19:
- You are under medical investigation or being treated for COVID-19
- You are following public health directions such as self-isolation after travelling from another country
- Your employer tells you not to work because you may expose others in the workplace to COVID-19
- You need to care for a family member (COVID-19) or a child due to school and childcare closures
- You have been caught by a travel restriction and cannot travel back to Canada
Your employer cannot ask you for a medical note to prove any of these situations!
This leave entitlement is retroactive from January 25, 2020.
Your employer cannot threaten, fire or penalize you for taking or making plans to take the COVID-19 emergency leave.
Check out some of our latest rights at work below, and don’t hesitate to give us a call if you need help defending any of them:
- $14.35 general minimum wage
- $13.50 minimum wage for students under 18
- $12.55 minimum wage for liquor servers
- These minimum wages were adjusted upwards by 10¢ on October 1, 2021 according to the Consumer Price Index. There is an annual minimum wage adjustment each year on October 1st.
- Job-protected leaves for all workers: You get 3 days if you are sick; 3 days for family responsibilities, such as an illness or urgent matter of a family member; and 2 days for bereavement. Your employer is allowed to ask you for evidence in order to take these leaves. We no longer get any paid sick days. (We are fighting for 21 paid emergency leave days during a pandemic – join us by signing the Decent Work and Health Network petition!)
- 1 week notice or pay in lieu of notice when temporary agency workers are terminated from assignments that were supposed to last 3 months or longer.
- Temporary agencies and their client companies are jointly responsible for unpaid wages, overtime, public holiday pay and injuries.
- Misclassification is illegal. If you are an employee who is being misclassified as self-employed, call us for help.
- 3 weeks of vacation after 5 years of working at the same company.
- Domestic or sexual violence leave of up to 10 individual days of leave and up to 15 weeks of leave if you or your child is experiencing or being threatened with domestic or sexual violence. The first 5 days of leave each year will be paid.
We are committed to defending and expanding these labour laws. Will you help us fight for workers’ rights in 2021? Here are a few things you can do:
- When you have a problem at work, call us at 416-531-0778. All calls are free and confidential. We also have a toll-free number which is 1-855-531-0778.
- Sign up for Action Alerts at the bottom of the page.
- Read and share information about your rights at work as we add more material in the coming weeks.
- Join and support the Justice for Workers campaign. Visit Justice4Workers.org.
- Support the Workers’ Action Centre.