More needed to help Canadians amid devastating Omicron wave
Bea Bruske, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, is available to speak to media today about the federal government’s Lockdown Benefit and the effect restrictions and business closures are having on workers and their families.
In advance of the government’s announcement on December 22, 2021, Bruske said:
“Canada’s unions are profoundly concerned that, with widespread restrictions and closures of businesses, workers and their families are being left without the help they need.
“We warned the government in October that their new law was far too limited in scope and we would be caught unprepared when the next crisis hit. Now we’re in the middle of the worst wave of COVID cases and there is less help available than at any previous point in the pandemic.
“We urge the prime minister and deputy prime minister to take swift action:
- Immediately call a meeting of the Premiers to ensure Canadian workers have access to the paid sick days in every province and territory;
- Declaring a lockdown so the new worker benefit is accessible to all workers now affected or immediately restore the Canada Recover Benefit;
- Ensure any benefit the government provides focus on employees whose wages have dropped substantially. Benefits should not be tied exclusively to workplaces. Often the employer may not qualify under the current rules, but their employees have had their shifts cut and their hours reduced because of new restrictions as a result of omicron;
- For workers in large scale, food production and other close contact workplaces, there must be support in the event of an outbreak to shut down production and have workers stay at home, with pay, until the outbreak is finished; and
- Recall parliament, if necessary, for a virtual sitting, to ensure help is there for the people who need it, now.
“Families shouldn’t have to spend their holidays worried about how they will pay their rent or mortgage in January. We need to provide swift support for the many thousands of workers now affected by the Omicron wave’s devastating impacts on our communities.
“It seems the only thing we can really be sure of with this pandemic is its unpredictability. We must not just lurch from wave to wave and variant to variant without better supports. Hundreds of thousands of workers were left in the cold after emergency benefit were cancelled last October.”
What: Response to government announcement on Omicron and support for workers
Where: By phone / remote interview
When: Wednesday December 22, 2021
Who: Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress
To arrange an interview, please contact:
CLC Media Relations