The evidence keeps pouring in that legislated, employer-paid sick days are essential to protect workers and communities. Over 15,000 health providers have contracted COVID-19, including personal support workers and nurses. This represents a doubling of cases among health workers in only three months. Meanwhile, Loblaws corporation reported that 56 grocery store workers at 43 stores in the Greater Toronto Area tested positive for COVID-19 in the four weeks starting December 24. And still, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Labour Minister Monte McNaughton remain unfazed.
Emergency phone ZAP: Paid sick days save lives
We need your help to wake up our government representatives. Please join us on Tuesday, January 26 at 6:00 pm in an emergency phone action. Click here to RSVP right now. Then find one more person who can help. To sound the alarm for paid sick days, we want to deliver as many phone calls as possible. We're counting on you to help spread the word.
Toolkit: Download your paid sick days kit
The Decent Work and Health Network has provided all the tools you need to get up to speed on why we need legislated, employer-paid sick days for all. Help us share these resources.
- In brief: Why the Canada Recovery Sickness benefit will never be a substitute for legislated, employer-paid sick days for all (click here).
- Get the facts: 2-pager separating paid sick days facts from the fiction peddled by corporate lobbyists (click here).
- Let's get visible: Print and post this sign for your front door or window (click here).
Allies have also drafted a sample resolution calling for paid sick days. Download the sample motion here, amend as needed, then take it to your local union or central labour body, your students' union, your community organization, or your local riding association. The more groups that adopt this resolution, the stronger our movement will be. And, please do let us know when it is adopted!
If you're on social media, there is now a sharable Facebook frame for your social media profile picture that reads: "No more preventable deaths. Paid sick days now." Get yours here.
Report back: January 19 online organizing meeting
With over 150 people joining in from across Canada, we had a high-energy meeting last Tuesday. We had three breakout groups: Paid sick days save lives; Safe education; and Safe and healthy workplaces. We strategized, planned, and committed ourselves to strengthening the decent work movement. This commitment is especially important since we learned that all provincial and territorial Ministers of Labour will be meeting with their federal counterpart in mid-February.
COVID-19 has exposed the extent of precarious work and all the hardships - and tragedies - that go with it. Although we agreed that fighting for paid sick days is a key link right now, it is also clear workers need better wages, safer working conditions, decent hours, and better benefits. That's why we planned to pull out all the stops to organize and activate more people between now and mid-February when the labour ministers meet.
Breakout room: Paid sick days save lives
Participants decided to do another big phone ZAP – this time targeting the Ontario Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton along with our own local Members of Provincial Parliament. RSVP here for the 6:00 pm phone ZAP next Tuesday.
Participants thought it would be exciting to follow up the big phone ZAP with lots of smaller phone zaps organized by groups or individuals in their own communities. Other great ideas coming out of the paid sick days save lives breakout group included making and posting short videos saying why we need legislated, employer-paid sick days. Participants also highlighted the importance of sharing social media posts, especially from the hashtags: #PaidSickDaysSaveLives and #PaidSickDays. The idea of a car caravan in the days ahead was also popular, so watch this space for updates on that.
Breakout group: Safe education
The group had a wide-ranging and comprehensive discussion, noting that chronic underfunding of education, from early childhood to post-secondary, has left our education systems woefully unprepared for the COVID crisis. Whether we're talking about broken ventilation systems or overcrowded classrooms, more must be done to protect our communities. It was particularly noted that low-wage, part-time, and temporary employment is a health-and-safety risk inside and outside the education system. The absence of legislated paid sick days for parents and education workers as well as students themselves intensifies that risk.
- Please sign and share this important petition from the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare (click here).
- Click here to register for the Ontario Federation of Labour's education forum on Saturday, February 13 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Breakout group: Safe and healthy workplaces
The group had an excellent discussion about why occupational health and safety experts must have a bigger role in developing workplace COVID-19 guidelines. While workers are blamed for breaking rules, the reality is that many workplaces that continue to operate fail to provide the resources that allow workers to protect themselves. Racism was also discussed as a critical health-and-safety issue.
- Click here to RSVP for an OFL forum on what it means to redirect funds from policing to the services that we all need and depend on.
- Click here to RSVP for an OFL forum on health and safety on campus on February 2 at 7:00 pm.
URGENT: Temp Agency Consultation
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has announced a consultation on Temporary Help Agencies (for more information, click here). Unfortunately, the frame for this consultation is not from the perspective of workers, but rather from the perspective of employers. There is a very tight window for making submissions, and the deadline is January 29. To help everyone respond quickly, we are inviting organizations and individuals to endorse the joint-submission written and submitted by Parkdale Community Legal Services, Migrant Workers' Alliance for Change, and the Workers' Action Centre. Take a look at the submission as well as a sample endorsement letter on our website.
SAVE THE DATES!
And be sure to mark Saturday, May 1 in your calendars to join us as we relaunch the campaign for decent work.
See you all on Zoom next Tuesday at 6:00 pm for the paid sick days phone ZAP!
PAID SICK DAYS SAVE LIVES
The new year has barely begun and already our hospitals are overwhelmed and Ontario has declared a state of emergency as a result of COVID-19 .
But Premier Doug Ford still refuses to implement paid sick days despite being repeatedly told that seamless access to adequate, permanent paid sick days is an essential tool in curbing the deadly consequences of this disease .
Workplaces are a key source of disease transmission. Why? Because workers are denied the essential protections that allow them to protect themselves and – by extension – our communities. Whether we are talking about the denial of paid sick days, about wages so low that health providers are forced into shelters because they can't find affordable housing, or inadequate hours that force part-time workers into multiple workplaces – workers need real protections now and forever .
Tuesday, January 19: Next online organizing meeting
Register NOW for the next online decent work organizing meeting on Tuesday, January 19 at 7:00 pm.
There's not a moment to lose in building the kind of movement we need to win permanent, employer-paid sick days for all. Come to the next organizing meeting and bring a friend! (And please be sure to register here so that you receive the Zoom link!)
Paid sick days - get the facts.
While over half of workers don't have paid sick days, those corporations least likely to provide employer-paid sick days are the corporations currently making stomach-churning profit. These are companies like Amazon, Walmart, Loblaws, and more who make their huge profits with a cheap-labour strategy and deny permanent paid sick days to their workforces.
These companies don't need more public subsidies, they need to be forced to protect workers. We have already seen how public subsidies have been abused to issue dividends to wealthy shareholders .
It is no surprise these same corporations are pushing back against the growing momentum for employer-paid sick days. They are making false claims that workers abuse paid sick days and employers can't afford them. But we know in jurisdictions where workers have access to as many as nine paid sick days, workers used an average of just three days and many used none.
SAVE THE DATES
Monthly decent work organizing meetings
For 2021, we will continue to meet once per month on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm. Upcoming meeting dates are as follows: February 23, March 23, and April 20.
Campaign re-launch - May 1
Circle the date and clear the decks. The campaign for decent work will be re-launching on May 1, 2021!
For the past several months, we have been busy talking with workers in low-wage, part-time, and precarious employment to find out what they want to fight for in the next phase of our campaign for decent work. From detailed one-on-one conversations to focus groups, we have been having conversations about what priorities need refreshing, what issues must be added to our agenda, and what changes continue to be urgently needed.
May 1 is known around the world as International Workers' Day to commemorate the fight for decent work. We can't think of a better day to relaunch our campaign.
We hope you'll join us!
In the meantime, take care, stay safe, and see you at tomorrow's organizing meeting!
On behalf of the Fight for $15 and Fairness team!
 Global News
 Huffington Post
 Ottawa Citizen
 CBC News
This has been an intense year, but thanks to you we have made an incredible difference.
From the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, we've worked together to protect as many people as possible. Please consider making a donation now to fuel this work in the year ahead (click here), as the pandemic rages on.
Whether it be fighting for adequate income supports, decent wages, or paid sick days, we've accomplished a lot. Here are just a few highlights:
Emergency Benefits and Employment Insurance
Together we campaigned for - and won - emergency benefits for workers and major improvements to Employment Insurance (EI). (Remember when the only thing the government initially announced for workers was waiving the one-week waiting period for EI and encourage workers to claim EI sickness benefits if they got COVID?)
After winning the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, we still fought tooth and nail for the weekly income support to be a minimum of $500 for a 16-week period. (Recall that the first announcement for emergency benefits was for only $450 in weekly pre-tax income and only for 14 weeks.)
Extending duration from 16 weeks to 28 weeks
When the first 16 weeks of benefits were set to expire but the economy was still in the depths of crisis, we had to push hard to demand an extension of benefits, winning a reprieve to August, then an additional four more weeks.
Justice for migrant workers
We fought alongside migrant-led organizations to ensure all migrant workers had access to emergency supports. These efforts led to important improvements! But it is crystal clear that without full protections under the law, too many people will fall through the cracks. That's why we must keep up the fight for full immigration status for all.
Recovery benefits and EI improvements
In the Fall, the government announced temporary improvements to the EI program that will ensure workers can access it after 120 hours of work, and will receive a minimum weekly pre-tax benefit of $500 for 26 weeks. These improvements have been crucial to ensure more workers can get EI when they need it. Alongside the EI changes, the government announced new Recovery Benefits that will provide similar support: $500 weekly (pre-tax), for 26 weeks.
2021: Let's make temporary improvements permanent!
None of this would have happened if people like you hadn't raised your voice - signed petitions, called your Member of Parliament, spoke to the media, and talked with your friends and neighbours. We know these changes have been huge, but more needs to be done to leave no one behind.
We will have to fight even harder in 2021 to ensure the temporary improvements to EI are made permanent, and that any worker who needs EI can access it. We must also fight to make sure we aren't unfairly penalized if we received overpayments. After all, this government has dished out millions to profitable corporations with no strings attached. It is a despicable double-standard to go after vulnerable workers for a few hundred dollars while giant corporations boast about taking millions in public money to line their own pockets. As CBC news reported [Source 1] in December:
"... trucking giant TFI International ... received $63 million in wage subsidies by the end of September, while also paying out $45 million in dividends amid rising profits and a soaring share price. ... 'We are not ashamed,' about taking the wage subsidies, TFI CEO Alain Bédard told a Montreal newspaper in October."
With or without the vaccine, it will be a long time before the economy fully recovers and we must ensure everyone has the income support they need for as long as needed. Please make a donation now (click here) to fund this important fight - no contribution is too large or small!
Paid Sick Days
After years of campaigning for paid sick days, this year our voice grew even louder with almost every Chief Medical Officer in Canada echoing this important demand [Source 2]! Along with our allies in the Decent Work and Health Network, we've been sounding the alarm on paid sick days since the first days of the pandemic. For months, we have banged pots and pans for paid sick days, organized socially-distanced actions, written letters, sent emails, and made thousands of phone calls both individually and collectively through our many phone ZAPs.
In response, the federal government created the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) that provides $500 per week in pre-tax income, for two one-week periods. This is a step forward and a win for us. But it must be said: CRSB is no substitute for adequate paid sick days legislated by every provincial government (and added to the Canada Labour Code).
As you know from previous campaign updates, to access these two weeks of benefits, a worker must already have lost 50% of their weekly income due to illness, and only after-the-fact can they apply for benefits. This is the kind of barrier health professionals warned against and it explains why the take-up rate for the CRSB has been so low [Source 3].
Tragically, no provincial government to date has legislated adequate paid sick days permanently (at least seven) and during pandemics (at least 14 additional days). But the urgency for implementing this life-saving legislation is more visible than ever. That's why the number of people mobilizing and organizing on this issue is growing right across the country.
We started this year by calling on the federal government to honour its promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 in 2020. Sadly, the federal government let us down. Tens of thousands of workers in the federally-regulated private sector would have benefitted from a $15 federal minimum wage.
Federal Labour Minister Filomena Tassi still claims to support raising the federal minimum wage. So in 2021, we must redouble our efforts to make sure this issue is a top priority next year. Let's not let the federal government get away with ignoring their promise to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 and index it each year to keep up with rising prices.
It is also urgent that we continue the fight to raise the minimum wage everywhere. Companies like Loblaws, Amazon, Walmart, and more raked in billions more in revenue during the pandemic. And although they briefly instituted pandemic pay, most cancelled it in the summer when the federal emergency benefits were set to expire. This callous behaviour shows what we have always known: corporations can easily afford to pay workers decently. But they'd rather issue dividends to shareholders than ensure their workers work safely and live with dignity.
Let's remember: the best way to make pandemic pay permanent is to raise the minimum wage for all of us!
Build the decent work movement!
RSVP now for the first decent work organizing meeting in 2021
Rumour has it that we may be facing a federal election early next year. Let's be sure to hit the ground running in 2021. Our next big organizing meeting will take place online on Tuesday, January 19 at 7:00 pm. Register now (click here), put it in your calendar, and then bring a friend or co-worker to the next meeting.
Help build our fighting fund
2020 has been a difficult year to be sure, but your actions and efforts have made a huge difference. None of our collective work would be possible without your political solidarity and financial generosity. If you are able to help us out financially, please consider doing so. Click here to make a donation. Even $1.00 will make a difference. And if you are already one of our financial supporters, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Rest up and have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday break!
On behalf of the Fight for $15 and Fairness staff team, we salute all of you for everything you do whether it be on the frontlines, at work, from home, or behind the scenes - no action has gone to waste. We hope you get a well-deserved break and have a safe and happy holiday.
See you in 2021!
On behalf of the whole Fight for $15 and Fairness team!
As COVID infections spike across Canada, there has never been more urgency to demand action on paid sick days and decent wages.
We know that frontline workers are at much greater risk of exposure on the job.
Yet, while workers face the worst safety crisis of our lifetime, bad bosses like Loblaws, Amazon, and Walmart are cashing in at our expense.
Will you send an email right now to the Prime Minister, the federal Minister of Labour, and opposition party leaders? Click here now!
Email the Prime Minister now!
Minimum wage earners in the federally-regulated private sector (bank tellers, airport workers, road workers and more) have been waiting for more than a year for this long-overdue wage bump. This is absolutely shameful.
Some of us doing federally-regulated work make as little as $11.45/hour in Saskatchewan or $11.70/hour in New Brunswick. And most of the rest of us doing this work earn far less than $15 an hour. We all deserve so much better.
That's why we need to speak up loudly and clearly to make sure the federal government keeps its promise to raise the federal minimum wage.
The next seven days are critical
On Monday, November 30 at 4:00 pm, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance will be delivering an economic update, where they will be outlining their priorities for the weeks ahead.
We need to make sure that frontline workers are central in the government's vision to suppress the virus and recover from the pandemic.
ZAP the Prime Minister!
Let’s deliver a loud, clear message to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Labour, and our own Members of Parliament.
Every phone call we make over the next week will be crucial. Here's how you can help:
Register for one of several upcoming phone ZAPs where we will meet, and make phone calls together:
- November 24: Ottawa, Ontario ZAP - 7:00 pm EST
- November 26: Newfoundland and Labrador ZAP - 7:00 pm NST
- November 27: British Columbia ZAP - 11:00 am PST
- November 29: Vancouver, BC ZAP - 11:30 am PST
- November 29: Toronto, ON ZAP - 7:00 pm EST
- December 5: Nova Scotia ZAP - 3:00 pm AST
Remember to check the campaign website events page here, because more phone ZAPs are coming online every day.
And please don't wait to make your calls!
You can take action right now by contacting your own MP. To find your local Member of Parliament click here and type in your postal code.
Paid Sick Days Now!
More than 11,500 people have died from COVID 19 in Canada and it is widely understood now that low-wage, precarious work without paid sick days and health benefits are a major risk factor in contracting the virus. 
That's why it is so appalling that no level of government has moved to ensure every single one of us have seamless access to adequate paid sick days.
We are in a major crisis and need action now
Click here to send an urgent email to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot as well as your own Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP).
If you have already signed it, please ask two or three more of your friends, family and co-workers to also sign it.
More and more public health officials are speaking out for the urgent need for paid sick days to make it possible for workers to stay home when they are sick, without risking their jobs or their paycheques. 
This demand clearly cuts across political party lines. From NDP leaders in Nova Scotia and Ontario  to Conservative party members like Toronto Mayor John Tory and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown  more and more elected leaders are sounding the alarm on paid sick days for all.
We need your voice!
On Tuesday, December 1 at 6:00 pm, we are calling on everyone to come together to phone the Ontario Premier and Health Minister. We want to deliver hundreds of phone calls and we need your commitment to make this happen.
Please raise your voice and join the action on Tuesday, December 1 in support of paid sick days now: click here to register.
All our lives depend on it.
 Decent Work and Health Network: Dr. Tam: paid sick leave is “essential to protect worker and community health”
 Ottawa Citizen: 10,000 COVID deaths in Canada, and still no adequate paid sick days
 Ottawa Citizen: Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill says paid sick days should be part of the provincial Labour Standards Code
 Brampton Guardian: Brampton Mayor on COVID and precarious work
“Brampton has one of the highest percentages of essential workers,” Mayor Patrick Brown said Wednesday. “And if you look at the particular area that was highlighted in the Toronto Star article, this has one of the highest level of factory workers, people who work in industrial settings, essential workers and transportation logistics, food processing. ...
“I hear again and again it’s too difficult to get sick benefits, and people are going to work when they have symptoms, people are going to work because they can’t afford to lose their job. They don’t have time to wait for six months of paperwork from Ottawa to get that sick-benefit payment back; they can’t afford to miss a paycheque.
With only a few weeks left in 2020, it's urgent we raise our voices to demand the Prime Minister honour his promise to create, in 2020, an indexed, federal minimum wage of at least $15 an hour. Will you take action? Send an email right now to the Prime Minister, the federal Minister of Labour, and opposition party leaders: click here.
Let Justin Trudeau know that $15 is long overdue!
Email the Prime Minister now!
US election: Voters support higher minimum wage rates
Despite the tension involved in the US presidential election, there is some good news from local ballot initiatives that can provide inspiration for our decent work movement here in Canada.
Florida for $15
First up, Florida voted by more than 60% to raise the minimum wage from $8.25 to $15.00, and to index the wage to inflation thereafter. The fact that more people in Florida voted to raise the minimum wage than voted for Trump should remind us all that raising the minimum wage is a non-partisan issue, even in the highly polarized USA. Florida's wage increase is expected to benefit over 25% of the state's workforce, helping to close the racial and gender wage gap while simultaneously boosting the economy and state revenue. 
Portland for $15
In Portland, Maine, voters overwhelmingly agreed to raise the minimum wage from $12 to $15 and to ensure workers receive pay at time-and-a-half during declared states of emergency such as COVID-19. This means that frontline workers in Portland may receive a minimum wage of $18 USD by the end of 2020. When fully implemented, this measure will improve the incomes of 36% of Portland's wage and salaried workers. And just like in Florida, raising the minimum wage helps close the racial and gender wage gap and boosts the economy at the same time.  
Raising the minimum wage is good for everyone
In fact, new US-based research shows that a $15 federal minimum wage would benefit all low-wage workers, but would especially help Black and women workers, as well as others who face systemic discrimination in the labour market. The research also shows that fears of job-loss and rising prices in response to higher minimum wage rates are misplaced.  This fear-mongering comes from big business lobbyists like Chambers of Commerce across North America that (as we know from our experience in Ontario) have consistently opposed minimum wage increases regardless of whether the wage increases are fast or slow. 
Global and local support grows for higher minimum wage
Meanwhile, the popularity of decent minimum wage rates continues to grow in the wake of COVID-19. On September 27, voters in Geneva, Switzerland adopted a minimum wage of 23 Swiss Francs per hour (almost $33 an hour in Canadian dollars!). 
Closer to home, 91% of the public in Newfoundland and Labrador support a $15 federal minimum wage.  In that province, the minimum wage was adjusted on October 1 from $11.65 to $12.15 an hour, but everyone knows it is simply not enough.
This sentiment helps explain why 1,400 Dominion workers are currently on strike against the retail giant Loblaws. Support them win paid sick days, fair wages, and job security by signing the petition. The Dominion grocery chain in Newfoundland and Labrador is owned by Galen Weston's Loblaws company. Anger is growing at the fact Loblaws is raking in millions in record-breaking profits during the pandemic, yet over 80% of Loblaws workers across Canada still earn the minimum wage - a wage that can be as low as $11.45 in Saskatchewan; $11.70 in New Brunswick; and $11.90 in Manitoba.
Prime Minister Trudeau: What are you waiting for?
That's why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to step up. In May, Trudeau said those earning minimum wage during this pandemic deserve a raise. We say it's long past time for the federal government to honour its promise to create, in 2020, a federal minimum wage that would be at least $15 an hour and be adjusted by the cost of living increases every year. Knowing the extent of support for a decent minimum wage, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made this promise to get elected in 2019. But time is running out and we need to pull out all the stops to make sure the federal government keeps its promise.
What can YOU do?
1) Email the Prime Minister
Send an email right now and then invite your friends to do the same.
2) Join the online organizing meeting Tuesday, November 10.
Come meet other supporters of the $15 & Fairness campaign to plan upcoming actions. Sign up now (click here) to participate on Tuesday, November 10 at 7:00 pm (ET) at the monthly organizing meeting we co-host with the Ontario Federation of Labour. Upon registering, you will receive the Zoom meeting link as well as dial-in details in case you prefer to attend by phone. Join us!
3) Join the federal phone ZAP November 15
On November 15 at 3:00 pm (ET) we will be meeting up online to make phone calls to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Labour and to our own members of parliament. Register here to get the event link and help us spread the word on Facebook (click here).
4) Call your own MP
Call or meet with your own Member of Parliament. To get their contact information, click here and enter your postal code.
Together, we can win!
Thanks for everything you do! Hope to see you on Tuesday (November 10) at 7:00 PM (ET) at our online organizing meeting. Click here to sign up and receive the Zoom meeting link, and see below for the agenda!
 Mother Jones on $15 victory in Florida
 News Centre Maine on $15 victory in Portland
 New York Times article on why $15 matters for racial justice
 Washington Post article on why Chambers of Commerce oppose minimum wage hikes, despite popularity even among small business owners.
 CTV news story on Switzerland.
 Telegram article on local support for $15 in Newfoundland and Labrador
With COVID-19 infections on the rise, it is increasingly clear that workers cannot simply wait for governments to protect us - we must act now, organize now, and support each other every step of the way.
Here are three crucial fights that you can support right now:
Pay up Hotel X
Hotel X owes a staggering $1.4 million to workers it let go during the pandemic. Sign and share this petition, and scroll below for more info https://www.15andfairness.org/payuphotelx
Demand decency for Loblaws workers
In Newfoundland and Labrador, grocery store workers at a chain owned by Galen Weston’s Loblaws have been on strike since August to make the pandemic pay permanent, to win paid sick days, and job security. Sign and share this petition (click here), and read on about upcoming actions.
Full immigration status for migrant workers
From farms to food processing, and from health care to education, migrant workers are essential workers. Without full immigration status, these workers face deportation whenever they speak out for decent work. Sign and share this statement, and scroll for more info: www.StatusforAll.ca
While the pandemic worsens, it is shocking that not a single government in Canada has legislated adequate, permanent, and universally accessible paid sick days for workers - despite public health officials calling on workers to stay home when they are not feeling well. This advice has been standard for decades, especially during flu season. But it is absolutely crucial right now.
Just last May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rightly said: "If you are risking your health to keep this country moving and you’re making minimum wage, you deserve a raise.”  Yet the federal government has failed to implement its own promise to deliver "a federal minimum wage of at least $15 per hour, starting in 2020 and rising with inflation, with provisions to ensure that where provincial or territorial minimum wages are higher, that wage will prevail.” 
Across Canada, minimum wage earners have been essential to keep the economy in motion. Yet corporations like Loblaws and Sobey’s cancelled the meagre $2.00/hour pandemic pay they briefly granted to their employees, even as corporate profit rates sky-rocketed. 
Fortunately, workers are fighting back.
Pay up Hotel X!
As we recently reported, Hotel X in Toronto is one of several luxury hotels around the world owned by Henry Kallan. To maximize profit, Hotel X relies on third party contractors for its staff. When Hotel X switched to a different sub-contractor, 200 workers were let go in the middle of the pandemic and now the employer is refusing to pay the $1.4 million in termination pay these workers are owed.
The good news is workers at Hotel X are fighting back. Let’s not let them fight alone. Here’s what you can do:
- Sign the email petition to tell Hotel X owner Henry Kallan to do the right thing!
- Call Hotel X by dialling General Manager Fariyal Hasham: 647-475-9269, and tell them to pay up.
- Come to the socially-distanced action on Friday, October 30 (4:00 pm) at the corner of Lakeshore Blvd & Ontario Place Blvd in Toronto, to show your support: click here to sign up and click here to spread the word on Facebook.
- Warn Hotel X patrons on social media by tagging @HotelXToronto on social media using the hashtag #PayUpHotelX or leaving a review at Google or Trip Advisor
Tell Loblaws: Make pandemic pay permanent
In Newfoundland and Labrador, grocery store workers at Dominion - a chain owned by Galen Weston’s Loblaws - have been on strike since August 22. These workers are on strike to make pandemic pay permanent (the minimum wage in Newfoundland and Labrador was just adjusted from $11.65 to $12.15 on October 1); for paid sick days; and for job security. As Loblaws rakes in record profits, these demands are more than reasonable - and should be extended to all workers in the sector. Let’s help these workers win their fight: Click here to sign the petition, watch and share this fantastic video, and spread the word.
Legislate the federal minimum wage NOW!
Prime Minister Trudeau promised to deliver a federal minimum wage of at least $15, and indexed to inflation in 2020 . With only 10 weeks remaining, time is running out. Let’s not let the Prime Minister get away with ignoring the workers who are counting on this wage increase.
- Call the Prime Minister 613 992-4211 to demand action.
- Organize a phone zap in your riding. Email the details to [email protected], and we’ll help spread the word.
We need to call every Member of Parliament across Canada to let them know we want the federal government to honour its promise to enact a $15 federal minimum wage in 2020.
And if you live in York Centre or Toronto Centre where two federal by-elections are taking place on October 26, be sure to vote for candidates who will fight for a decent federal minimum wage, for legislated paid sick days, and for full immigration status for all of us. For more information about candidates and how to vote, click here.
Nov 1: Raise the call! Full immigration status for ALL!
COVID-19 continues to spread, but support and services for essential migrants are missing. Migrant workers, students, refugees, undocumented people, sex workers and others are being turned away from healthcare, emergency income supports, decent work, and other basic services at a time when we need it the most. Fees for education and other services are incredibly high. We need to build a fair society with equal rights and that means FULL & PERMANENT IMMIGRATION STATUS FOR ALL.
Join actions on November 1 and share on Facebook:
- VANCOUVER, 4:00 pm Pacific time, Grandview Park https://www.facebook.com/events/374320803713323/
- TORONTO, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm Eastern time, Dufferin Grove Park https://www.facebook.com/events/346102000173983
- NIAGARA, 7:30 pm - Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/events/335022477573937
For more information visit www.MigrantRights.ca/Nov1
Nov 10: Join our next online meeting
There is growing momentum for safe and healthy workplaces for all of us. Join us and the Ontario Federation of Labour for our monthly organizing meeting on Tuesday, November 10 at 7:00 pm to help us plan next steps. Please click here to sign up and get emailed the Zoom Link for the online meeting. You can also help us spread the word on Facebook by clicking here.
 "If you are risking your health to keep this country moving and you’re making minimum wage, you deserve a raise.” -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, May 7, 2020. See here.
 See page 12 of the federal Liberal Party platform document.
 See the Canadian Centre for Policy Report (click here) exposing how Canada's top billionaires became $37 billion richer since start of the pandemic
On October 1, Ontario’s adult general minimum wage was adjusted to $14.25 to reflect last year’s cost of living increase.
Important as annual cost of living adjustments are - and we should all be proud of winning this change back in 2014 - this October's adjustment should have been more, bringing in a minimum wage of $15.65. By cancelling $15 minimum wage and freezing annual adjustments for 2 years, Premier Doug Ford has stolen millions of dollars from frontline workers and transferred it to corporate profits.
Clearly we can’t rely on politicians to protect our rights at work. That’s why it is so powerful to see workers fighting back and taking on their own bad bosses. But they need our support to win. Will you take action to improve protections for workers and fend off greedy employers?
Hotel X workers fight back
Over 200 workers who cleaned, cooked and served food at Hotel X in downtown Toronto were let go in the middle of the pandemic and have yet to see a dime of the $1.4 million in termination pay they are owed.
This luxury hotel now claims that it has no responsibility because the workers were subcontracted, and got terminated when Hotel X switched to a different contractor. Bad bosses like Hotel X hide behind gaps in the labour laws to exploit workers and pocket more profit. Let's make sure this employer knows that hotel workers are not alone! Take action:
- Share today's front page Toronto Star story (click here to read) that exposes the hotel, and spread the word on social media by tagging @HotelXToronto and using the hashtag: #PayUpHotelX
- Sign the email petition to tell Hotel X owner Henry Kallan to do the right thing!
- Post a review on Google or Trip Advisor to warn Hotel X customers
Workers in Newfoundland and Labrador take on Galen Weston’s Loblaws empire
Since August 22, 1,400 Dominion grocery store workers in Newfoundland and Labrador have been on strike for fair wages, paid sick days, and job security. Dominion is owned by billionaire Galen Weston's retail giant Loblaws, which cancelled the $2/hr pandemic pay in June despite its record profits during COVID. 75% of Dominion workers earn less than $15/hr and the majority have only part-time hours.
We can not forget that Galen Weston was also a vocal opponent of raising the Ontario minimum wage to $15/hour, and profited handsomely when Premier Ford cancelled the $15 minimum wage. If Dominion workers can make pandemic pay permanent, or win paid sick days, this will inspire others to fight and to win these basic protections for ALL workers.
Let’s do everything we can to help Dominion workers win their strike. Here are three things you can do:
- Watch and share this video (click here)
- Sign this petition, click here.
- Post your own "I support Dominion workers" selfie or video. Please tag @Loblaws @Unifor Local 597 @UniforTheUnion and use hashtags: #15andFairness #fairpayforever #CanLab #GalenWeston
Organize with us, join our upcoming meeting!
We need you, to make sure all workers get the protection they need to survive the pandemic! Come meet other supporters of the $15 & Fairness campaign and plan out upcoming events. Sign up now (click here) to participate on Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00 pm (EDT) at the monthly organizing meeting we co-host with the Ontario Federation of Labour. Upon registering, you will receive the Zoom meeting link as well as dial-in details in case you prefer to attend by phone. Join us!
Organizing works! Thanks to you speaking out and the strategic pressure from the federal NDP, the Trudeau government has agreed to provide a minimum of $500 per week for Employment Insurance (EI) and the new Recovery Benefits. This is a huge relief for the two million people who were preparing for a 20% cut in income support on September 27. Clearly, our phone calls and emails have worked!
But there’s more to be done. Take a moment right now to call your Member of Parliament (MP) (click here).
We must keep the pressure up to ensure migrant workers also have access to these supports, that the new improvements to EI are made permanent and the Liberals keep their promise for a $15 federal minimum wage!
Call your Member of Parliament right now.
Visit our website now to call YOUR MP with just one click! Once you type in your phone number our system will call and automatically transfer you to the voicemail of your elected official. Tell them:
- You are glad that the government will maintain $500 in weekly income support through EI and the Recovery Benefits, but we need to ensure everyone gets access to them, including migrant workers.
- Canada relies on migrants for many essential jobs, while also severely restricting access to full immigration status and equal rights. All migrants need to be granted permanent residence status so they can receive income supports and speak up against unsafe jobs.
- The federal government must keep its election promise for a $15 minimum wage in 2020, that is indexed to inflation.
- The temporary changes made to EI, which create a minimum floor of benefits of $500 for at least 26 weeks must be made permanent. We must have an EI program that works for all.
Call now (click here) to have your voice heard! The government is paying attention, let's raise our voices.
September 30: Post-Secondary Education STRIKE for Black & Indigenous lives.
Right now a long-overdue conversation is happening nationally and globally on the persistent and systemic nature of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism within our communities. We know post-secondary institutions are one of the major institutions that need to change.
Our post-secondary institutions “pride” themselves on equity, diversity, and inclusion while simultaneously targeting, harassing, and oppressing Indigenous, Black, and people of color on their campuses. Enough is enough. We believe it is time TO STRIKE.
JOIN US online for a virtual strike on September 30th from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm: click here now: https://s30strike.eventbritestudio.com
September 30: Make Brock University a Decent Work campus!
This Brock University webinar will be hosted via Zoom on Wednesday, September 30th from 1:00 pm to 2:30pm. Join us to find out about opportunities to get involved in the Niagara region.
We will be discussing how Brock University was created by the labour movement, the current state of workers' rights at Brock, and a proposal to make Brock a $15 & Fairness campus. We stand in solidarity with #AllOutSeptember30th because the fight for decent work is also a fight for racial justice.
October 13: Join the next $15 and Fairness and OFL decent work organizing meeting:
Each month, the Fight for $15 and Fairness and the Ontario Federation of Labour co-host an online organizing meeting so we can fight to improve the wage and working conditions of all workers. The next meeting is taking place on Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00 pm (EST). Please join us and bring a friend! You can sign up right now, click here. You will be emailed the Zoom link for the online meeting upon registering.
Thanks to your incredible effort, there is growing momentum for safe and healthy workplaces for all. From paid sick days to migrant justice, and from decent wages to extending CERB, your actions are making a difference.
But we can’t stop now.
Take action: Call your MP
Join us in calling your Member of Parliament (MP) to keep the pressure up (click here to take action). We need to ensure all workers receive at least $500 per week, either through EI, through income support programs, or through wages. We need to fight to ensure all workers can access these programs - and an easy way to do so is for the federal government to implement full immigration status for all.
Decisions are being made right now about what the federal government will do in the next parliament. Will you make the phone call that could change history?
Click here to call your MP now, and let them know you want them to:
- Honour the government’s promise to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour;
- Ensure all workers get access to the income support they need for as long as they need it - this means full immigration status for all;
- Raise the federal weekly income support from $400 to $500. We can’t survive on less.
To support you in completing this action, we've created a tool that will allow you to phone your MP with just one click! Visit our website and type in your phone number, so our system can call and automatically transfer you to the voicemail of your Member of Parliament. **We've also prepared example speaking points you can use while you deliver your message.
Can’t stop, won’t stop organizing for justice
We need you at our next online organizing meeting: Tuesday, September 15 at 7:00 pm. Please register now by clicking here.
At Tuesday’s meeting we will pull together the threads that will make our movement indivisible. We will link the urgent fight to end deadly anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism with the struggle for decent work in our communities and on post-secondary campuses. We will link the fight to stop climate change with the need to raise wages for low-carbon jobs like child and elder care, and build affordable housing with the highest environmental standards. We will link the urgent need for full immigration status for all to our ability to protect ourselves and our communities.
But to do this, we need to activate more people. Join our next online organizing meeting on September 15 -- and bring a friend! Click here to sign up!
At the meeting, we will be getting action updates from:
- Sarom Rho, organizer with Migrant Workers’ Alliance for Change on the pan-Canadian day of action September 20 (Learn more: https://migrantrights.ca/sep20/)
- Kendall Mar, Fridays for Future organizer, on the global climate strike September 25 (Learn more: https://fridaysforfuture.org/september25/)
- Kien Saningong Azinwi, president of the York Federation of Students on the pan-Canadian strike against anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism September 30 (Sign up here to join the action.)
With just days before schools across Canada are set to open, there is growing concern that our education system could become the next hotspot, spreading COVID-19 and other illnesses in our communities.
For safe and healthy schools, we need paid sick days
Public health specialists are sounding the alarm advising parents to keep their children home at the first sign of any illness. 
But a report published by the Decent Work and Health Network shows that almost 60% of Canada’s workforce have no access to paid sick days. Those workers denied paid sick days are most likely to be in low-wage work, on the frontlines delivering services, with the least ability to work from home. These factors put them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. 
Without paid sick days, few parents can afford to stay home and lose income when they or their kids are unwell. Because of systemic discrimination in the labour market, workers of colour, women, Indigenous workers and workers with disabilities are over-represented in precarious jobs. So paid sick days and decent work are also a matter of racial, gender, and disability justice.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are spiking in many provinces and Canada’s public health officers are now warning of a “potential surge in cases several times worse than what we’ve seen so far in Canada.” 
Will you join the August 29 day of action to demand paid sick days? Click here to let us know you’re coming.
Precarious work is a public health risk
Shockingly, both the public and private education systems contain many of the same risks that contributed to the explosion of COVID-19 in long-term care homes, including the fact many workers have no paid sick days and are working part-time or occasionally so they need to work in multiple locations to earn enough income to survive. The extensive use of supply or substitute teachers is just one example. 
Federal Sickness Benefit falls short
Unfortunately, the recently announced federal Recovery Sickness Benefit falls short of what workers need to keep us safe -- and far short of what health professionals have been calling for.
In order to apply for the benefit, a worker must already have lost 60% of their weekly income due to illness, and only after-the-fact can they apply for benefits. This is the kind of barrier health professionals warned against. Any requirement that puts peoples’ income at risk acts as a deterrent -- especially for parents and those in low-wage jobs.
Furthermore, the federal program is only temporary, which makes little sense since we know flu seasons occur annually and since most health experts predict a second wave of COVID months from now. We can certainly anticipate future epidemics and we should be putting effective, lasting policies in place to reduce the health and economic impacts of outbreaks.
So, while the federal Sickness Benefit will be useful for some workers, it doesn't go far enough for the workers most at risk now and in the future. That’s why we are redoubling our efforts to demand permanent, paid sick days -- before it’s too late.
Click here to send an email to the Premier and Prime Minister.
August 29 - Day of action for paid sick days and #SafeSeptember
On Saturday, August 29, parents, health providers, educators, frontline workers, and community members are taking action to demand legislated paid sick days for all. We can curb the spread of illnesses like COVID-19, but only if every single one of us can stay home at the first sign of illness, whether they or their family member is sick.
Will you join us on August 29? Click here to register, and read on for more inspiration.
Here’s what you can do:
- Join or organize an action in your community. Scroll down for a list of upcoming events.
- Send an email (click here) and ask 3 friends to also send it.
- Call your provincial representative to demand legislated paid sick days for all. Type your postal code here to find the phone number for your MLA/MPP/etc.
- Post a picture on social media calling for at least 7 paid sick days and an additional 14 paid days during public health outbreaks. There are lots of printable posters available here.
Join an action on August 29
- 11:30 am to 12:30 pm (EDT)
- Monk Public School - 250 Wellington Street
- To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.
- 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm (EDT)
- 3750 Lawrence Avenue East
- To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.
- 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm (EDT)
- Memorial Park, 163 Minto Street
- To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.
- 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm (EDT)
- Dufferin Station (southwest corner)
- To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.
- 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm (PDT)
- Queen Alexandra Elementary School, 1300 East Broadway
- To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.