COVID-19 Resources for Workers

We are living in challenging and fluctuating times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Responses by the government and our employers mean major impacts will be felt by all workers in Canada. 

Here are some resources that will help you navigate some of the issues. If you have any specific concerns regarding your CUPE 1281 Collective Agreement and a situation with your employer, please follow up with the Local or your Staff Representative.

CUPE Coronavirus fact sheet:

Government links

Union COVID-19 resource links

Related resources


This is a check list for people in work that is necessary for operations to continue, where there is the expectation from the employer to continue to go to the workplace, or for work to continue remotely but you cannot maintain full levels of productivity. Even though we disagree with the direction such as this, workers should be following directives from their employer to file sick leave, vacation, sick bank, overtime bank, personal days, and the like to stay home and not work if they are needing to.

Direction to employees in this position:

  1. Collect all correspondence with employer.
  2. Mark every day why you are home and why the employer thinks you are at home (sick leave, vacation, personal days, etc.)
  3. Mark why you decided to stay home (childcare, self-isolation, sick, etc.). This will not be shared with employer, but the union will be collecting the information to file grievances and other complaints later.

The goal is to get those days back from the employer.

Employment Insurance

Official Employment Insurance links

The federal EI program has waived the one week waiting period and have set-up call lines to deal with the influx:

  •         Canada EI Notice on COVID-19
  •         EI Sickness benefit
  •         Make sure the local reviewed the CA and ensure the employer is following it.
  •         Be advised that there is already a delay receiving EI payments.
  •         The length of time will impact members depending on how long the wait is to receive the ROE and start receiving EI payments.

Questions to ask Employers

  1.   How long will it take for ER to issue ROEs?
  2.   Has the employer announced a full closure or is this just a group?
  3.   Who will be providing this service if the employer is still open?
  4.   If this is an outsourced service, how will the central employer be continuing to provide this service? How?
  5.   Will laid-off employees be approached to provide in-house services?

Additional resources

CUPE Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee