Although unions are not unaware of the long-term perspective of the Covid-19 pandemic – as for example, in “New Social Contract can rebuild our workplaces and economies after COVID-19” by Sharan Burrow of the ITUC – the main focus for Canadian unions seems to be to actively respond with policy advocacy and practical information resources for their members. The Canadian Labour Congress has built a dedicated Covid-19 Resource Centre which includes policy positions and demands, as well as fact sheets useful for individuals – for example, regarding legislated sick leave provisions in each province, or community information regarding domestic violence resources.
The CLC has also compiled an exhaustive collection of links to the Covid-19 information of individual unions across Canada and the U.S., here . Although there are differences among unions, most are compiling and updating resources and links which provide specific information for their members, especially regarding their health and safety rights and the financial supports available in the crisis. Some examples: Amalgamated Transit Union ; Canadian Union of Postal Workers ; Public Service Alliance of Canada ; United Steelworkers; and Unifor .
Other unions such as NUPGE or the Vancouver District Labour Council are focused on advocacy and demands for government action for front line workers. Toronto and York Region Labour Council and the B.C. Federation of Labour provide both. Check the complete listings at the CLC website for the wide range of information available, and also check the list of advocacy and organizing resources at the Broadbent Institute, constantly updated by Dr. Jennifer Robson.
Another important resource for frontline workers: Ontario’s Fight For $15& Fairness campaign for Health Emergency Labour Protections (HELP). Their demands for emergency health leaves and reforms to EI requirements in the Covid-19 situation are outlined here and here in French.
These demands are also endorsed by the Decent Work and Health Network in their press release . Like Fight For $15& Fairness, the DWHN is sponsoring a petition, as well as organizing a Zoom-based webinar for health workers in COVID-19, on April 1.