Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario praises federal government’s COVID-19 economic support package: Good news for thousands of skilled trades workers

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (CDCO) says it has praised the federal government’s announcement last week of an $82 billion support package for the Canadian economy to address the COVID-19 crisis.

“We’re thankful for the leadership of Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau on this support package, and that the government recognizes the need to protect Canadian workers and businesses – especially those who are self-employed, or rely on temporary work,” CDCO president Mike Yorke said in a statement. “This support package will help keep the economy going – ensuring our members have money available to support their local economies.”

COVID-19 poses the threat of pay disruptions and potential unemployment for thousands of Ontarians. Part of the economic supports announced include additional Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for workers (including the self-employed) like waiving the one-week waiting period for workers in imposed quarantine that claim EI benefits. There will also be an Emergency Care Benefit for workers that provides up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks, if you’re quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but don’t qualify for EI, or you’re caring for a family member sick with the virus.

“It’s our hope that job losses in the construction sector will be minimal as this continues to unfold,” said the union’s executive secretary-treasurer Tony Iannuzzi.  “These EI supports benefit both employees and the self-employed.”

“More than 500,000 Ontarians work in the skilled trades, and we need to be looking out for them. Now’s as good a time as ever for the government to be looking at additional critical infrastructure investments that can help ensure the continued promise of employment for the thousands of workers in the skilled trades,” the union’s statement said.

No sector of the Canadian economy is exempt from feeling the pressure resulting from COVID-19, and businesses recognize the need to support workers through this challenging time. This Federal package will give employers time to adjust to this new reality, and make sure that their skilled tradespeople don’t have to sacrifice their health and that of their family in order to continue to put food on the table, the statement said.

“While the outcome of this situation remains unknown, our Local Unions can rest assured that we have your back in these uncertain times. Members with questions about Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan are encouraged to reach out to the CDCO for more information at Myorke@thecarpentersunion.ca.”

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