March 16, 2020
UFCW Canada calls on governments to protect health, economic wellbeing of workers amidst COVID-19 pandemic

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) is calling for urgent action from all levels of government to ensure that Canadian workers do not have to choose between their health and economic wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Together with other labour unions across Canada, UFCW is calling on our federal, provincial, and municipal governments to help workers protect each other and the communities they serve, while also helping to contain the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, UFCW Canada is calling for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to better reflect the needs of workers during this pandemic, and the provision of sick days for all workers throughout the country.

“Millions of Canadian workers, and tens of thousands of UFCW Canada members, are hourly employees who only get paid for the hours they work, and many of these workers are on the front lines of helping to combat the coronavirus,” says Paul Meinema, the national president of UFCW Canada.

“From coast to coast, UFCW Canada members are doing their part to help contain the spread of COVID-19, whether it be health care members treating patients or retail members selling needed supplies and sanitation products.”

“As the financial impact of the coronavirus intensifies, our governments need to take action to make sure that workers do not have to choose between work and their health. We are therefore calling on all levels of government to protect workers against financial loss due to loss of hours, and to ensure that all Canadians can access immediate medical attention if they feel sick or believe they have been exposed to the coronavirus,” the UFCW leader adds.

“In addition, expanding Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to better reflect the needs of workers during this pandemic and providing sick days to all workers in Canada would go a long way towards reducing the economic impact of COVID-19 for working people.”

“Protecting the health, safety, and economic wellbeing of workers and their families should be our country’s top priority right now, and we are urging our federal, provincial, and municipal governments to take appropriate action to achieve this objective,” says Meinema.

UFCW Canada is the country’s leading private sector union, representing more than 250,000 union members across Canada working in food retail and processing, transportation, health, logistics, warehousing, agriculture, hospitality, manufacturing, and the security and professional sectors. UFCW Canada is the country's most innovative organization dedicated to building fairness in workplaces and communities. UFCW Canada members are your neighbours who work at your local grocery stores, hotels, car rental agencies, nursing homes, restaurants, food processing plants, and thousands of other locations across the country.