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May 7, 2020


Masse and Unifor demand the government fix CERB so that workers can receive their negotiated benefits without penalties
Hard won benefits at risk without government rule changes

(Windsor) – Today, Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West), NDP Innovation, Science, Economic Development Critic and Unifor Local 200 President John D’Agnolo called on the government to change the regulations so that thousands of workers receiving the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) are not penalized for claiming their negotiated supplemental unemployment benefits from their employers.

“These long-established benefits were the result of workers standing up for fairness and respect for decades in tough negotiations during difficult times. Without the government making a few simple rule changes these hard-won gains are put at risk. Workers and their families’ economic lives are made more precarious,” stated D’Agnolo.

Under present CERB regulations, recipients cannot receive payments from their supplemental unemployment benefit plans which have been negotiated with employers and are registered with Service Canada, without being subject to potential penalties which could include repayment of all CERB funds. The government has been notified about this specific issue repeatedly over the last six weeks. The Minister of Employment, Carla Qualtrough has received three separate letters. On March 27 NDP Employment Critic Daniel Blaikie wrote Qualtrough a comprehensive letter on many concerns with regards to the CERB. On April 15, Unifor’s President Jerry Dias, along with the bargaining chairs for GM, FCA, and Ford, including D’Agnolo, sent a letter outlining this issue and proposed regulatory changes to address it. On April 23, Masse wrote a letter to the Minister highlighting the changes the government had made to the CERB to solve other problems and identified the need to correct this issue and supporting the specific regulatory changes needed to do so.

“The urgency to remove the uncertainty and fix this problem has been known for more than six weeks. The Minister has failed to act. Leaving thousands of workers to be exposed to this risk during a public health emergency caused by the COVID19 pandemic. This is a time when government should be engaged in making this situation less burdensome on all of us not creating more challenges. The government must act now to fix the CERB for all these workers,” Masse stated.


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