June 17, 2020

CERB extended, keep organizing!

Many of us breathed a sigh of relief when the federal government finally announced an extension of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) earlier this week. Millions across Canada were facing a financial disaster on July 4 when the first round of emergency benefits were set to run out.

Thanks to the public outcry, the government has announced that CERB will be extended for an additional eight weeks. But we know that eight weeks will not be enough, given the economic impact of COVID-19 -- you can read our public statement here. That’s why we need to stay mobilized and demand a much more comprehensive plan from our federal and provincial governments to support workers for as long as we need it. 

Register now: June 23, Online Organizing Meeting
You can join the meeting online or by phone (register to receive details)
Sign up for the June 23 meeting

Join us for this upcoming online organizing meeting we're jointly hosting with the Ontario Federation of Labour on Tuesday, June 23 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Click here now to sign up!

Come meet decent work supporters from across Ontario, and even Canada, to discuss new ways we can put pressure on politicians. From fighting to extend CERB, to making workplaces safer, from winning paid sick days to raising the minimum wage, we need your creative ideas! At the meeting, we'll report on the latest announcements on workplace rights and have lots of time to plan upcoming actions. 

And once you’ve registered (click here to do so now), invite one of your co-conspirators from your workplace, your community, your campus, or your union to join along with you. We have a lot of work to do and need as many hands on deck as possible!. You can spread the word on Facebook here.  

Here are some of the recent developments we'll discuss at the online meeting on Tuesday:

  • Extend CERB - Make workplaces safe

Extending CERB is fundamental to protect workers whose jobs have been affected by COVID-19. We know that jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors may take many months and even years before full capacity has been restored. It’s obvious that our demands to extend CERB and improve Employment Insurance are as relevant as ever. Click here to sign the petition

Extending CERB is also crucial to ensure that workers have the necessary income supports to leave dangerous workplaces. The reality is, Ontario workers are not being allowed by the Ministry of Labour to refuse unsafe work (see the Global News investigation). With the recent outbreaks on Ontario farms (read the Globe & Mail expose) and at a Home Depot (learn more), it’s clear that employers don't face enough pressure to keep their workers safe. 

  • Full immigration status NOW for migrant workers

Thanks to everyone who supported the solidarity caravan to Niagara last Saturday, to echo migrant workers' demand for full immigration status NOW, click here to watch and share the video of the action.  

Without full immigration status, workers who speak out for their safety are under permanent threat of deportation -- this has always been dangerous, but especially deadly during a pandemic. The current health crisis on farms in Ontario -- where hundreds of migrant workers have tested positive for COVID-19 -- has exposed the deplorable working and living conditions of migrant workers. Bonifacio Eugenio Romero, 31, and Rogelio Muñoz Santos, 24, both died earlier this month, and more are in critical condition in the ICU (intensive care unit). 

This neglect of migrant workers is a symptom of the structural racism that pervades every aspect of society, including anti-Black racism.  

  • Anti-Black racism is a public health issue

We will never win economic justice, without racial justice. The Decent Work and Health Network has issued a powerful statement outlining the serious health consequences of racism and xenophobia in our workplaces. The Network especially emphasizes anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. Read the full statement here. 

This Saturday, June 20 from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, there will be an important online community forum on alternatives to policing and criminalization. Organized by the Toronto Prisoners' Rights Project, this urgent discussion will be live-streamed over Facebook and Instagram and we are encouraging everyone in the decent work movement to tune-in. You can register and spread the word on Facebook here. 

  • No time to lose to win 10 paid sick days!

The federal government has promised to move forward on 10 paid sick days for workers. Paid sick days are as essential for safe workplaces as PPE. Without paid sick days, many of us in low wage jobs, working inadequate hours, simply cannot stay home when sick, because we can’t afford to lose even an hour of pay. 

This is another reason why paid sick days must be employer-paid. Workers need seamless access to paid sick days, any interruption to their pay will be a huge disincentive for workers to stay home when they are sick. And let's not forget, the likes of Loblaws, Walmart, Amazon or the for-profit nursing home Chartwell deserve no public subsidies to provide 10 paid sick days for every worker. Let's keep calling federal politicians to deliver on this promise, make your call now!