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MAHCP’s FAQ on COVID-19

Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals -

1: A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was recently signed by MAHCP, other health care unions and Employer representatives regarding the Employer’s need to redeploy staff in order to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as the situation evolves in Manitoba. Why was an MOA necessary?

MOAs such as this are commonplace in preparation for events like natural disasters or pandemics and are intended to provide additional clarity, protections and compensation for our members. This MOA covers issues related to potential redeployment of staff that may be necessary to respond to COVID-19, and it does so in one easily accessible document. The MOA ensures that collective agreements are followed, sets out clear limits and processes for the Employer to follow and provides compensation for work disruption, travel, etc. where redeployment is necessary. The full MOA can be found here: https://mahcp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/MOA-Redeployment-of-Staff-COVID-19.pdf

 

2: I am an MAHCP member, but I work for a private agency/employer that is not included in the Regional bargaining certificate employer organization list. Does the MOA covering redeployment and transfer apply to me?

No, it does not. Your collective agreement terms and condition continue to apply, regardless of whether or not an emergency is declared. However, if you hold a concurrent EFT with a public health agency, the MOA could apply to you for that position.

 

3: I’m a casual employee. Can I be forced to temporarily transfer as part of the COVID-19 response?

If you are on duty on a casual shift, you can be mandated to transfer for the duration of that shift. It is MAHCP’s position that casual employees can’t be forced to accept additional shifts, but you can volunteer for those shifts or can volunteer to transfer as per article #1 of the MOA.

 

4: Will vacations be affected by the COVID-19 response?

If an emergency is declared, the Employer can cancel vacation and other leaves as per number 5 in the MOA. Prior to an emergency declaration, vacation can be amended by mutual agreement between the employee and employer.

 

5: Can the Employer cancel my approved maternity leave, parental leave or medical leave?

No, they can’t. These are protected under the Human Rights Code. Contact your Labour Relations Officer immediately if the Employer attempts to do so.

 

6: If I decide to proactively cancel travel plans, can my previously approved leave be cancelled?

This would need to be done in agreement with the Employer.

 

7: The Provincial government has suspended K-12 school beginning March 23 for three weeks and they are also closing licensed child-care centres beginning end of day Friday, December 20. What is being done about childcare?

Generally speaking, there is an onus on the employee to make reasonable attempts to obtain childcare. If adequate childcare arrangements can’t be made, your priority is your family. The Employer can require you to supply proof that you have made good-faith attempts, and that the need for your children’s care can’t be met in any other way other than for you to be at home with them.

The Manitoba Government has published the following advice: “Parents who will be providing front-line health care… and will not be able to find alternative child care while services are suspended are asked to contact 204-945-0776 or 1-888-213-4754 (toll-free).”

Even before Manitoba K-12 school closures were announced last week, MAHCP began pressing the Employer for their plan to deal with health care employees who have to take time off work due to self-quarantine or childcare issues related to COVID-19. The government has promised to create “dedicated child-care options for front-line and essential services staff who need them.” We are still waiting for the Employer to offer substantial supports and options. and will keep members apprised as soon as we know more.

 

8: Will my paycheque be affected if I can’t find childcare and must stay home?

At this point, in cases where you must stay home for childcare and you have no other Employer-based options, you may file an Employment Insurance claim. The Federal Government has waived the waiting period for EI. We continue to press the Employer to provide further options for employees in this situation and will keep you apprised of any developments.

 

9: What about sick time? Can that cover me if I take time off work to care for my child or a dependent family member?

At this point, you can only use Income Protection if your child or dependent is sick and you have family IP in your bank. Please follow your Collective Agreement, which includes provisions for when IP is exhausted.

 

10: What should I do if I’m not feeling well and have symptoms?

Canadian Public Health officials are urging those who are unwell and symptomatic to stay home. Please follow your normal guidelines on whom to inform for steps to follow, including the possible need for screening. Income Protection would need to be used to cover this time off. If you’ve exhausted your Income Protection, you may request to use other banked time. If that’s exhausted as well, you may consider EI, as the Canadian Government has waived the waiting period. Claims should be made to EI.

 

11: I believe I have been exposed, but I’m not symptomatic?

If you believe you have been exposed at work, you should inform your supervisor immediately and document exposure in case a WCB claim is needed. You may be required to fill out a Workers Compensation form with specifics. You may be told to go home and told to access Income Protection. If you’ve exhausted your IP, you may request to use other banked time. If that’s exhausted as well, you may consider EI, as the Canadian Government has waived the waiting period. Claims should be made to EI.

If you were exposed while away from your workplace, let the Employer know immediately. They should provide further instructions.

 

12: What if I am immunocompromised or can’t wear the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Notify the employer and your Labour Relations Officer immediately and request an accommodation, which may include reassignment to a different working environment. The Employer may require medical documentation. Your safety is the priority. If you can’t be accommodated you may be sent home and will need to access IP. If you do not have IP left you may ask the employer to use other banked time or seek to access EI, as the waiting period has been waived. Contact EI directly to make a claim.

 

13: I do not believe the employer has provided me with proper and safe PPE. What should I do?

Please be sure to report any shortages of PPE to your immediate supervisor and your Labour Relations Officer. If you reasonably believe the employer has not provided the necessary equipment or measures, such that your safety and health is at significant risk, you have the right to refuse unsafe work. Refer to the following link for the steps required: https://www.safemanitoba.com/topics/Pages/Right-to-Refuse.aspx.

 

14: I work in a community setting and perform in-home visits as part of my job duties. I’m concerned about my safety and that of my patients/clients. What should I do?

On Tuesday, March 17, the Manitoba government announced that Home Care staff will be provided scripts to identify risks before going into clients’ homes. We expect that our members will be given similar scripts.

If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to talk to your manager or immediate supervisor at your workplace. If you require further information or support, please feel free to contact your MAHCP Labour Relations Officer or email info@mahcp.ca

CAUT welcomes assistance for workers and calls for support of post-secondary education amid COVID-19 spread

CAUT -

(Ottawa — 18 March 2020) Across Canada, as universities and colleges are taking important steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, CAUT welcomes the $27 billion in direct support to Canadians announced today by the federal government. This is an important step in ensuring that vulnerable Canadians, including post-secondary education workers and students, are adequately supported throughout this crisis.

Many of those in the post-secondary sector – contract academic staff instructors, support staff and students – have precarious work with limited job protection and few benefits. The new emergency care benefit of $900 biweekly for those who do not have access to paid sick leave, a six-month interest-free reprieve on student loan payments, and a deferral of tax payments until August 31, among other measures, are necessary steps to support vulnerable workers.

As we move forward in addressing the crisis, we hope our governments continue to adapt and evolve programs to meet the needs of workers and their families. In addition to this financial support, measures are needed to uphold worker’s rights at the provincial level, and we are calling upon all provinces to ensure job-protected leave, and to make the necessary changes to employment standards to close the gaps in support made evident from this public health emergency.

The economic repercussions of this crisis will be felt for months and even years to come. For academic staff, threats to their livelihoods loom in the coming school year, as universities and colleges are likely to see pandemic related declines in enrolmentand resulting financial problems this fall.

Additional fiscal measures will be required to stimulate the economy and support public services. CAUT urges the federal and provincial governments to coordinate measures to assist education in the coming months.

Ensuring the sustainability of post-secondary education through the predicted temporary downturn in enrollment will protect core operations and livelihoods, providing continuity for the expertise needed to continue to tackle this crisis and support Canada’s recovery.

Critical services and exceptions to telework

PSAC -

As the government has moved to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the definition of “critical” services has played a significant role in determining which operations must continue uninterrupted, and by extension which ones must continue being...

COVID-19 pandemic highlights need for urgent action to ensure access to health care for the medically uninsured

NUPGE -

“Health care is a human right, regardless of immigration status. All levels of government and health institutions need to act now to remove barriers to care for the medically uninsured to ensure appropriate COVID-19 assessment and care is available. This crisis demonstrates why we need a health care system that ensures access for all.” ― Melanie Spence, OHIP for All member and Registered Nurse

The Viral Crash

Rank and File - latest news -

By David Bush Oh there goes gravity. In short order the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an unprecedented global economic downturn, whose full force we have not even begun to register. Global supply chains — in ruins. Industries like airlines, tourism, hospitality, railways, entertainment, retail, restaurants, manufacturing, auto — smouldering craters. Stock markets — a carnival Continue readingThe Viral Crash

Unifor demands income protection for auto workers as Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler suspend operations

Unifor -

March 18, 2020

TORONTO—Unifor demands income protection for auto workers as Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler suspend operations across North America, throwing thousands of Canadian Unifor members out of work. 

“We understand that this pandemic requires an extraordinary response but Canadian auto workers must not bear the brunt of this crisis. Workers must be protected from this virus and from financial hardship as a result of this pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

Both Ford and General Motors have announced it will conduct a deep clean of all facilities in response to Covid-19 and that the suspension will last at least until March 30. FCA has informed the union it plans to shut down production immediately and will re-evaluate at the end of this month.

Unifor represents approximately 40,000 workers at Ford, GM and FCA, and at Independent Parts Suppliers in Canada and is calling on all the employers to commit to full pay for workers during this temporary down period.

The union believes all employers must maintain workers regular wages, whether they are unionised or not if there are work stoppages due to the pandemic.

Unifor will continue to monitor the situation with Covid-19 and the status of production with the automakers through the newly announced Canada Task Force which includes the Presidents of Unifor, FCA Canada, Ford of Canada and GM Canada. 

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at  Natalie.Clancy@unifor.orgor 416-707-5794 (cell). 

 

 

By the Numbers: Paid leave and EI access in Canada

UFCW Canada -

Ottawa, Ont. — March 17, 2020 – A new analysis by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) finds that most workers in Canada lack access to paid leave and two out of three Canadians do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI), suggesting that urgent policy changes are needed to support workers during the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

Doug Ford urged to protect the vulnerable in long-term care homes

Unifor -

March 17, 2020

TORONTO – Unifor is urging Premier Doug Ford to demand long-term care facilities close their doors to all visitors in order to protect the health of long-term care residents and workers from COVID-19 exposure.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes across the province were working short-staffed on a daily basis, stretching personal support workers far too thin,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Now is the time to make sure these homes are providing adequate staffing ratios to ensure workers are able to provide care safely and follow all precautions necessary to protect themselves and their vulnerable residents.”

The union demands the Premier immediately move to protect nursing homes in the province by increasing hours for all part-time and casual employees who are able to work full-time hours.

“Nursing home operators are already stretching the rules on limiting visitors in long-term care facilities as they have been instructed, and they continue to allow non-essential visits because they actually rely on those visitors to assist in direct care and support at meal times,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President. “We must have qualified staff providing all direct care, especially during these challenging times.”

“Increasing staff hours and making use of all those who are trained, available and appropriately screened will be essential to keeping residents and workers safe,” said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director. “Premier Ford should enforce the best available practices and medical advice to protect Ontarians, and this case of lax controls in long-term care shows he isn’t ensuring proper care for those who need it most.”

Long-term care workers concerned about potentially unsafe practices in their workplace are asked to contact their Health and Safety Committee and their local union. Unifor has launched a hub for member information about the pandemic at unifor.org/COVID19 and encourages members to check the site regularly for updates.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications representative Shelley Amyotte:  shelley.amyotte@unifor.org or 902-717-7491 (cell).

Governments must protect Aviation workers as Sunwing suspends operations

Unifor -

March 17, 2020

TORONTO —Today Sunwing Airlines announced it will suspend operations after March 23, 2020 and all pilots, approximately 470 in total, will be laid off on April 8, 2020.

“We will not accept any situation where workers are left to fend for themselves, not at Sunwing, not anywhere,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “That’s why we’ve called on all levels of government to confront this unprecedented pandemic with unprecedented action to protect the livelihoods of workers affected by this crisis.”

Sunwing’s decision to suspend operations and layoff all pilots is the first major layoff announcement of its kind in the Canadian aviation industry. The decision is a direct result of the federal government’s COVID-19 travel restrictions and border closure policies.

Making matters worse, approximately 125 pilots at Sunwing face possible eviction from company-rented residences in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Quebec City.

To address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Unifor has called on the federal government and provincial governments to immediately implement a wide series of measures to protect workers across all industries including but not limited to:

  • Establish direct, emergency income assistance measures to all workers and families – including those ineligible for Employment Insurance benefits;
  • Waive the one-week waiting period for regular Employment Insurance benefits and temporarily eliminate the qualifying hours needed to access benefits;
  • Service Canada must issue a directive to employers to code layoffs as “Layoff/Shortage of Work” instead of “other” to ensure no administrative bottlenecks prevent impacted workers from receiving money;
  • Place restrictions on any stimulus funding for the aviation industry to ensure funds are directed to support employees rather than executives;
  • Place a moratorium on all evictions and postpone any and all eviction orders currently in place.  

“Our members have mortgages, bills to pay, and children to take care of, and will not be able to make ends meet if there isn’t a comprehensive government strategy in place. We will not let our members go without a roof over their heads,” said Barret Armann, Unifor Local 7378 President. “Any bailout package to the industry must come to workers and their families first and include written commitments from the employer that ensures all of our members will return to work once these travel restrictions are lifted.”

Unifor has also asked that the federal government develop a long-term solution to support airlines such as Sunwing that will undoubtedly face challenges as service levels normalize once the pandemic is contained. In the case of the 2015 MERS outbreak, passenger traffic levels did not normalize for more than four months and during the SARS outbreak in 2003 passenger levels did not to return to normal levels for more than six months. With the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is estimated that passenger traffic may not return to current levels for more than a year. That is why bold action is needed now.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

To arrange an interview, please contact Unifor Communications National Representative David Molenhuis at david.molenhuis@unifor.org or 416-575-7453 (cell).

Unifor, FCA Canada, Ford Canada, GM Canada Working Together to Protect Auto Employee Health and Safety During COVID-19/Coronavirus Emergency

Unifor -

March 17, 2020

TORONTO –Leaders at Unifor, FCA Canada, Ford of Canada, and General Motors of Canada today announced a joint task force to implement enhanced protections for manufacturing and warehouse employees at all three companies during the current COVID-19 / Coronavirus crisis.

The Canadian task force includes:

  • Jerry Dias, President, Unifor
  • Dean Stoneley, President & CEO, Ford of Canada
  • David Buckingham, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, FCA Canada
  • Scott Bell, President & Managing Director, GM Canada

Unifor and the three Canadian automakers are in continuous communication at the national and plant levels to ensure they take appropriate actions and continue to follow the advice of medical staff and experts to help keep workers and their families protected from the COVID-19 virus. They are also maintaining ongoing communication with government and health officials at all levels. 

Preventative actions currently under review at the three companies’ Canadian auto facilities include visitor screening, increased cleaning and sanitizing of common areas and touch points, safety protocols for people with potential exposure and those who exhibit flu-like symptoms. The task force members today discussed progress with additional safety practices and actions including break and cleaning schedules, health and safety education, health screening, food service and any other areas designed to improve protections for employees.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Contacts:

Natalie Clancy, Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org

David Paterson, david.paterson@gm.com

Lauren More, lmore@ford.com

LouAnn Gosselin, louann.gosselin@fcagroup.com

 

Flatten the curve, flatten the boss

Rank and File - latest news -

By Doug Nesbitt On Monday March 16, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford delivered press conferences on the crisis only to confirm that it’s business as usual for these silver-spooned sons of comfort. Hopes for emergency safety net measures were dashed, along with the prospect of such measures counter-acting the spread of Continue readingFlatten the curve, flatten the boss

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