Unions mark Labor Day with calls for more help for COVID-19

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OTTAWA – Unions and labor groups across the country celebrated Labor Day with scaled-down versions of their traditional protests, while calling for increased federal government assistance for workers battling the COVID pandemic- 19. The Canadian Labor Congress launched a campaign on Monday to coincide with the federal holiday which calls on the federal government to expand changes to Employment Insurance which provides benefits to any Canadian worker left out of work even after the end of the pandemic.

CLC Chairman Hassan Yussuff also said he hopes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address their concerns in his upcoming Speech from the Throne by announcing an improved apprenticeship program for young Canadians and ways to help them. visible minorities and immigrants to access unemployment benefits.

“We know we have gaps, we know we have a lot of problems and what we’re hoping to get the federal government to address in the Speech from the Throne is how to go about some of these things to make this country a real place.” better for workers. (and) for all Canadians, ”Yussuff told The Canadian Press.

At a rally in Toronto, Shelli Sareen, secretary-treasurer of Local 75 Unite Here, the largest hospitality union in the Greater Toronto Area, called for additional paid time off and long-term benefits as the hospitality industry struggles with historic declines during major events and tourism.

“A lot of our members struggle to put food on their tables and they struggle to pay their bills and struggle to pay their rent,” she says.

In Calgary, where the unemployment rate is 14.4 percent, the Calgary and District Labor Council called on Alberta to diversify its economy and introduce paid sick leave.

“COVID-19 has also highlighted the need for paid sick leave,” CDLC President Alexander Shevalier told CTV Calgary. “Workers shouldn’t have to choose between getting better and paying rent. Paid sick leave should be the cost of doing business. It is a necessity.

In Montreal, emergency room nurses at Lakeshore General Hospital quit their work Sunday evening, saying they were understaffed to be efficient in their work.

In Nova Scotia, the provincial teachers’ union fears the provincial government is ill-prepared as students return to class on Tuesday.

“Many people returning to school tomorrow are concerned about safety, logistics and the willingness to provide the support teachers and children deserve,” said Nova Scotia Teachers Union President Paul Wozney , at CTV Atlantic.

“A hand sanitizer has been put on undiluted and is expected to be put on children’s hands – it’s just not safe.

Concerns about COVID-19 in Canadian schools are of growing concern as students return to class. In Ottawa, five French schools have already confirmed cases of the virus, while Quebec recorded 50 cases during its first week of school last week.

In a Labor Day speech posted on Twitter, Trudeau thanked frontline workers and pledged to continue supporting Canadians who have lost income and jobs due to the pandemic.

“As Canadians return to EI benefits, we will make sure the EI program is more flexible and generous so you can get the help you need, when you need it. need them most, ”Trudeau said in his speech.

Statistics Canada reported on Friday that the Canadian economy gained 246,000 jobs in August, but that still left 1.1 million Canadians unemployed since the COVID-19 peak.

With files from Kevin Gallagher, CTV National News correspondent on Parliament Hill, The Canadian Press, CTV Atlantic, CTV Calgary and CTV Montreal

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