Brothers and Sisters,
We continue to wait for a satisfactory answer from the federal government, that would ensure Supplementary Unemployment Benefits (SUB) will not be considered earnings by those who have applied for Employment Insurance Benefits, but have been transferred to the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)/ EI Emergency Response Benefit.
Since we last posted information on April 8th, the federal government has made changes that allow those who earn up to $1,000 a month to collect CERB, addressing a situation many Canadians found themselves in where they are able to work part-time but in doing so would make less than the CERB itself. While this was not intended to correct our issue, some Members of Parliament are indicating they believe this amendment resolves our concerns. As if S.U.B is considered to be earnings it will allow our members to collect $1000.00 of Supplemental Unemployment Benefits.
Simply put, this does not address our concerns!
All of our Local Unifor members, just as many others throughout Canada with Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plans applied for Regular Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits, expecting to receive those payments with their negotiated SUB payments. As within the Employment Insurance program, legislation exists which recognizes our negotiated S.U.B plan as an extension of EI Benefit payments and therefore not earnings.
However, after our members applied for EI, the federal government quickly introduced CERB. It was explained as a quick method in which every Canadian who was laid-off or unable to work due to the pandemic could collect an income replacement. Canadians who are at least 15 years of age, could qualify for this Benefit, so longs as they had work earnings/self-employment of $5000.00 in 2019. They did not have to be eligible for EI, nor were they required to pay a single dollar of the required $856.36 in 2020 E.I. premiums that we as autoworkers pay every year.
While creating the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit was the right thing to do for the millions of Canadians who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance. It should not punish those that pay premiums to support the Employment Insurance program and have negotiated a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plan with their employer.
As the federal government quickly put together this economic program, the usual care and consideration for all circumstances were not considered, which is understood. However, what is not understood is why after creating CERB/EI Emergency Response Benefit in a matter of weeks, that the federal government have yet to correct a legislative error that Unifor had identified over 5 weeks ago. As a Local we have brought our concerns to MP’s and the National Union have discussed this issue with several federal liberal Minsters.
This obvious error should have already been corrected and patience for change is at an end.
It’s now time for the voice of all our membership to be heard. We need every member to spend a few minutes to do their part to protect our income and ensure the federal government respects our negotiated SUB plan.
You can do this by signing the attached online petition below and share it with friends, family and encourage them to sign. Then if you want to do more call your Local Federal M.P office and ask that they correct this legislative error immediately.
President, Unifor Local 707
phone# 905-844-9451 Ext# 222
Important Note: Presently the Ford Motor Company and FCA continue to provide Supplemental Unemployment Benefits with the anticipation that the goverment will correct this error in legislation. While General Motors Company has not paid Supplemental Unemployment Benefits to those employees in receipt of CERB payments.
Please foward any questions with regards to this issue to the President or Vice -President office and do not contact the Union Benefits office which is focused on working toward resolving personal EI and SUB issues.