Cross-Canada Statement Calls on Government to Extend Recovery and EI Benefits, and Make Lasting Reforms
This summer raised our awareness of COVID-19 hot spots in Toronto. Watch this Good Jobs For All video from a July 2020 forum for presentations that show the enormity of the issues facing racialized communities in Toronto as a result of the pandemic.
Thank you to Jennifer Yang (Toronto Star), Aleem Tharani (ATU 113), Nigel Barriffe (Urban Alliance Race Relations), Cheryl Prescod (Black Creek Community Health Centre) and Alejandra Ruis Vargas (ACORN) for participating in the panel discussion.
The Transition – Post CERB Benefits and EI.
Take a look at this presentation about how the transition is expected to happen. It is a joint project of the GJFA EI Working Group and the Ontario Legal Aid Clinics EI Working Group.
Good Jobs For All and Labour Council’s Climate Justice Network are pleased to invite you to a public online forum on a Job-Rich Transition to a Carbon Neutral Future For All. This will be a participatory event where you can help develop a labour-community perspective to shape our governments’ plans for a green economic recovery that works for everyone.
For more information and to register, please go to labourcouncil.ca/greenjobsforum
Building a New Unemployment Insurance System
Among other things, COVID-19 put a spotlight on long-standing shortcomings of Canada’s EI system. Good Jobs for All’s EI Working Group worked hard to address the immediate needs of workers affected by the health and economic crisis (see April 13 and March 9 postings).
Now, the Working Group has identified proposals for rebuilding EI in the immediate and longer term. These include:
- Waiving qualifying hours
- Eliminating disqualification for those who quit “voluntarily” during the pandemic
- Adjusting Work Sharing as a tool for a phased return to work
- EI and EI-CERB costs must be assigned to general revenues, not EI
- Many more elements
Please read Building a New Unemployment Insurance System for details.
Support the call for change! Write to your MP; the Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion; and to the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair, Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
GJFA’s EI Working Group
Good Jobs For All’s EI Working Group has worked hard to shape Canada’s approach to supporting workers affected by the pandemic. The EI Working Group, along with partners such as West Scarborough Community Legal Services, was responsible for many recent victories regarding income support by the federal government including the following:
- Waiving the one week waiting period for people collecting EI Sick Benefits
- Removing the requirement for a medical note
- Creating a new benefit for those who are ineligible for EI, including workers without enough hours (called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or CERB)
- Setting a higher rate for the CERB
- Reducing complexity
- Speeding up the application and payment processes
For information about applying for the CERB visit canada.ca
To help people navigate through the system as well as deal with other COVID-19 issues, take a look at the following documents and YouTube videos from West Scarborough Community Legal Services (and subscribe to the channel so you get information about new videos):
- Who is eligible for the expanded CERB?: PDF | video
- Understanding which benefit you should apply for?: PDF
- COVID-19: New Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- COVID-19: EI Sick Benefits and changes
- COVID-19: Housing Protection for Tenants
Labour Council also has related information on its website:
Good Jobs For All joined over 100 organizations calling on Ontario’s government to ensure adequate income support for low-income Ontarians during this crisis.
Read the letter here.
GJFA has made a submission to Waterfront Toronto during the recent round of consultations on Sidewalk’s proposal for the Quayside project. The submission, prepared by GJFA’s Sub-Committee, notes that Waterfront’s Quayside project will be built in a post-COVID world, a world struggling to recover from the grip of a major health, social and economic crisis.
The Sub-Committee importantly pointed out that Quayside will now be a testbed for the lessons that we are learning in this pandemic about community life and the importance of active government policy, public services, social programs and mutual support. Quayside will need to sketch out the contours of a post-COVID city. To achieve that goal requires a different starting point and a different plan than the one provided by Sidewalk Labs.
It is a great read! Take a look at the submission here.
The Good Jobs for All Coalition is collaborating with others to improve access to EI Benefits by working Canadians. See the letters below for more information:
- The Coronavirus emergency requires immediate changes to EI to protect workers who are quarantined because of COVID 19
- GJFA calls on new EI Minister Qualtrough to improve access to EI benefits
- EI Commissioner’s forum – with GJFA – asks for immediate EI Review and improved access
- Community groups wrote to Scarborough Liberal MPs about special challenges by Scarborough residents in accessing EI