COVID-19 information & updates

Our doors are now open to better serve your Union and Benefit needs. For everyone’s health and safety, we kindly ask that while on the premises, you wear proper face covering, practice social distancing and respect the directives posted throughout the office. Our business hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday


Contact information

Offices

Union Representatives & Staff

Inquiries related to Collective Agreements (including terms & conditions, etc.) can be sent to: Andrée Maltais (Labour Relations Manager )AndreeM@liunalocal527.com

Click here for full details on payment options for monthly union dues and benefit self-payments.


Questions and Answers (Work & Union related)

General Statement – The Federal and Provincial Government continue to react to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. While the answers set out below were accurate at the time of writing, you should always be aware of new developments.   The Union recommends that you consult government sources for accurate information.

Browse All Answered Questions

Is the Union planning on shutting down job sites?

Each employer determines whether or not to continue operating. So long as they are operating, the Union will continue to represent you in your employment and to enforce the applicable collective agreement and work-related laws and statutes. If the employer temporarily shuts down, the Union will try to assist you in finding other work.

The practical reality is that many of our members wish to continue to work while it is safe for them to do so. The Union will assist its members by ensuring that all reasonable precautions have been put in place for their safety.

There are options available to the Union in terms of filing grievances against specific employers based on specific facts. The Union can also file complaints under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) alleging specific violations of that statute.

Employers employ our members and, in turn, have the responsibility for the safety of the workers they employ. Under OHSA, the Employer owes a duty under section 25(2)(h) to take every reasonable precaution for the safety of the worker. This provision expressly provides:

Duties of Employer
s. 25(2) Without limiting the strict duty imposed by subsection (1), an employer shall,
(h) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker;

Pursuant to OHSA every worker in Ontario has the right to refuse work that isn’t safe. Section 43(3) provides:
Refusal to work s. 43 (3) A worker may refuse to work or do particular work where he or she has reason to believe that,
(a) any equipment, machine, device or thing the worker is to use or operate is likely to endanger himself, herself or another worker;
(b) the physical condition of the workplace or the part thereof in which he or she works or is to work is likely to endanger himself or herself; (b.1) workplace violence is likely to endanger himself or herself; or
(c) any equipment, machine, device or thing he or she is to use or operate or the physical condition of the workplace or the part thereof in which he or she works or is to work is in contravention of this Act or the regulations and such contravention is likely to endanger himself, herself or another worker.

On March 16, 2020 the Provincial Government announced that it intended to pass legislation which would provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures. If passed, this will be retroactive to January 25, 2020.

Is my job site safe?

Construction sites and industrial workplaces can be inherently dangerous places. Throughout your working careers you have been trained to be aware of your surroundings and to identify health and safety risks. You know that if you see something which is not right or which is unsafe, then you should say something to your employer.

The COVDI-19 pandemic has raised the possibility of new health and safety risks on the job-site. You should consider:

  • Whether hand-sanitizer or hand washing facilities are available.
  • Whether bathroom / or portable toilet facilities are being cleaned and inspected.
  • Whether co-workers who are subject to self-isolation or quarantine are in breach of those requirements.
  • Whether there have been any positive tests in the workplace.

If you see something, say something. Your employer must take all reasonable precautions to protect workers and should investigate and where possible remedy any safety issues. If action is not taken to remedy a health and safety risk, you have a right to refuse work in accordance with section 43 of OHSA. If you have concerns about your health and safety, you should refuse and immediately report the situation to your employer, your union representative and the Ministry of Labour who can be reached at: 1-877-202-0008.

We are all concerned about our health and we must also remain respectful of others. If you are sick, do not go to work.

Now that our health officials advised that there should be no more than 50 people in a gathering, will the local implement measures on larger job sites?

The direction for now is to avoid gatherings of 50 or more people. The employer has the obligation to keep the job site safe and to take reasonable precautions to protect workers. The Union expects employers to be aware of this requirement and to ensure that they comply. If you believe that the job site is not safe (due to the number of people or for other reasons) you have the right to refuse work.

What can the local do to protect workers’ rights?

The Union can and will file any and all grievances and occupational health and safety complaints necessary to hold contractors and employers liable for any violations of law and the applicable collective agreement. The Union will take steps to protect any member who refuses unsafe work, or who takes time off work in accordance with Provincial or Federal health guidelines and recommendations. Any specific concerns should be raised with your Union representative, preferably in writing, with as much detail or particulars as possible (we need the who, what, when, where, other witnesses etc.) together with a phone number where they can call you back.

With the state of emergency declared, are we still expected to go to work and put ourselves at risk?

Premier Ford announced on the morning of Tuesday March 17, 2020 that Ontario was under a state of emergency. The following establishments are legally required to close immediately: All facilities providing indoor recreational programs; All public libraries; All private schools as defined in the Education Act; All licensed child care centres; All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery; All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and Concert venues. Further, all organized public events of over fifty people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship. These orders were approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier.

Premier Ford also identified activities and business which were not impacted including public transit, grocery stores and most importantly, for many of our members, those employed in construction. That is, the state of emergency does not close, or necessarily affect construction sites or many industrial workplaces which employ LiUNA members.

If your workplace is open, subject to any specific health and safety concerns, you are expected to go to work. Employees who are required to attend work and are not covered by the state of emergency including construction workers, always have a choice to make about withdrawing your services and quitting.

You also have the right to a safe work place and you should make any concerns you have known to your employer. It is always helpful to raise concerns in front of others so it can be verified down the road if need be. Better still put your concerns if any in writing and send to your employer and copy your union representative. As noted above you have the right to refuse unsafe work under the OHSA.

Everyone directed by their employer to not attend work or who are currently isolating due to medical advice or are a returning traveller should follow those directions and keep their employer informed where needed. We encourage everyone to follow the advice and direction they have been given by third parties including your employer.

If you believe that you are risking your health by attending work and seek to withdraw your services and/or request a medical lay-off then that is your choice. On March 16, 2020 the Provincial Government announced that it intended to pass legislation which would provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children due to school or day care closures. You should consider whether any of those protections apply to you, and if so, advise your employer of that reason when you refuse work or seek a medical-layoff.

If you refuse to attend work the employer may seek to terminate your employment in which case we would, in the normal course file a grievance seeking your reinstatement. The outcome of any grievance is uncertain. We will investigate all grievances and fully consider the facts and potential defences. All grievances are assigned to legal counsel especially knowledgeable in labour law and construction labour law.

In the end the choice is yours. If you do not go to work without leave, or a valid reason, you may be deemed by your employer to have quit or may be terminated. If you are not attending work you should not expect that your employer will pay you.

Are Training Centre programs cancelled?

All classes and courses at all LiUNA Training Centres were cancelled from March 16 to June 7. Classes resumed on June 8th with limited space to adhere to government restrictions.

You may contact the Training Centre directly at 613-723-2141 for more information on available courses.

Will there be any financial assistance for members during this time?

The Union does not pay out of work members, or members who are required to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. Members may seek financial assistance through Employment Insurance, or through the health and welfare plan.

Employment Insurance sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. Once those expire, members may be able to claim short term disability benefits through our health and welfare benefits.

It is ultimately the responsibility of the government to provide financial assistance to workers. On March 16, 2020 the Federal Government announced that it was considering forms of support for employees who are not eligible for EI benefits. LiUNA continues to lobbying all levels of government to secure financial assistance for our members impacted by the virus. This however is a complicated matter for the various levels of government who are all being inundated with similar requests from the public and private sectors.

EI insurance is available to anyone impacted by the coronavirus and now not subject to any waiting period. The Federal Government recently set out information which is as follows:
The Government of Canada will waive the one-week waiting period for people who are in quarantine or have been directed to self-isolate and are claiming for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits, at an estimated cost of $5 million. The Government of Canada will also introduce enhancements to the Work-Sharing Program at an estimated cost of $12 million to help employers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19, and their workers. We are exploring additional measures to support other affected Canadians, including income support for those that are not eligible for EI sickness benefits.

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

Service Canada is ready to support Canadians affected by COVID-19 and placed in quarantine, with the following support actions:

  • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim.
  • Establishing a new dedicated toll-free phone number to support enquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period. Telephone: 1-833-381-2725
  • Priority EI application processing for EI sickness claims for clients under quarantine.

More information on this in provided at the bottom of this web page.

Union dues payments

It is the responsibility of each member to pay their union dues and to remain in good standing. If you normally pay your monthly dues directly, you should continue to do so. If you are a construction member who has their monthly dues “checked off” and remitted, and are laid-off or otherwise not working, you should ensure that your monthly dues are up to date.

If you fail to pay your dues for 2 months you will be administratively suspended and will cease to be a member in good standing.

If you have any question about your dues status please contact the Union Office.

The financial market is in turmoil. Is my pension safe?

The Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada is a well-funded professionally managed pension. All LPF investments have been made under expert guidance and in a safe and diversified manner. The Fund is confident that it can deliver its promise to you.

Specific questions about individual pension entitlements or Fund performance should be directed to the Fund at : http://www.lpfcec.org.

Working at Heights training completed between February 28, 2017 and August 31, 2017 is now valid for four years from the date of successful completion of the training program. This is a one-year extension for existing certifications. Click here for the complete rules and regulations under the Occupational Health & Safety Act.

First Aid certifications that expire after March 1, 2020 are automatically extended until September 30, 2020. Click here for more information.


Government of Canada COVID-19 Financial Aid

The Government of Canada is introducing various financial aid options as part of their COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The information below had been sourced from the respective Government of Canada website on March 25, 2020 and may be subject to change. The Union recommends that you consult their website for accurate and up to date information. More information will follow on how these new financial resources will tie-in to the LiUNA Local 527 Members Benefit Plan.

Visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan Website for full details

Support for individuals and families

Increasing the Canada Child Benefit

The Government of Canada is providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family.

This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.

Those who already receive the Canada Child Benefit do not need to re-apply.

Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment

The Government of Canada is providing a one-time special payment by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.

The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.

Extra time to file income tax returns

The Government of Canada is deferring the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals.

For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  

The Government of Canada is also allowing any new income tax balances due, or instalments, to be deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.

Mortgage support

Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral.

Contact your financial institution for further mortgage assistance.

Support for people facing unemployment

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Government of Canada will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:

  • workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.

Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply.

Canadians would begin to receive their Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments within 10 days of application and will be paid every four weeks (retroactively effective from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020).

Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is now accessible through a secure web portal. You must apply via Employment Insurance application; once you are no longer eligible for EI, your benefits payment will automatically switch to Emergency Response Benefits. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.

  • This benefit replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.

Apply for Employment insurance

If you were recently laid off or have reduced hours and qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, you can submit your request today.

Support for people who are sick, quarantined, or in directed self-isolation

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Government of Canada will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:

  • workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.

Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply.

Canadians would begin to receive their Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments within 10 days of application and will be paid every four weeks (retroactively effective from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020).

Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is now accessible through a secure web portal. You must apply via Employment Insurance application; once you are no longer eligible for EI, your benefits payment will automatically switch to Emergency Response Benefits. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.

  • This benefit replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.

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