CBTU Urges Government to Support Construction Workers Amidst COVID-19

Mar 18, 2020

In the days, weeks, and possibly months ahead, workers will face critical decisions to stay at home, as suggested by the Government of Canada, the World Health Organization and many health care professionals. This is a choice about health and safety, but may be guided by finance; and in some cases, with closures, layoffs and lack of work – some won’t have a choice. We commend the Government of Canada for steps already taken to offer support, and stand with the Canadian Labour Congress calling on the Federal Government and its provincial and territorial counterparts to provide immediate income supports to workers in self-isolation, quarantine or who are addressing child care needs.

In addition to those critical steps, the Canadian Executive Board of Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) respectfully urges the Federal Government and employers to support the following requests specific to the skilled construction industry;

  • Job protection measures for construction workers;
  • Employment Insurance extension for those in the Construction industry that may have already exhausted some or all of their benefits;
  • Right to refuse unsafe work due to possible exposure to other workers with COVID-19-like symptoms, and workplaces that do not follow proper social distancing space as suggested health care professionals;
  • Emergency measures for pension plans regarding funding and solvency;
  • Work sharing agreements available to all employers, including in the Construction and Maintenance industry.

This is an unprecedented situation, and we are grateful for your continued efforts to put the health and safety of our members, their families and that of all workers as a top priority. The economic security of our members is part of that, and we urge the Government of Canada to continue to take bold action moving forward to ensure that Canadians remain safe, and that our members can continue to build our great country. We will continue to work with all levels of Government and employers to implement these measures and ensure that our Canadian workers and economy are protected during this global crisis.

In solidarity,

Robert Kucheran

Chairman

Canada’s Building Trades Unions