As we announced in mid-March when the COVID-19 pandemic began to shift most of our lives into quarantine, President Kelly Johnson wrote a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and all provincial health and labour ministers on COVID-19 and how it’s affecting workers’ rights and well-being. With the COVID-19 crisis taking up the overwhelming amount of time and resources of governments, we didn’t expect to receive much response, but we have received replies from the federal government, government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and government of Saskatchewan. Check out the responses and Kelly’s letter here.
Motion on Pharmacare for All – Passed in the House of Commons – For years the CCU has advocated for a public pharmacare program, and with this motion, we take a big step in that direction. During a global health crisis, the timing of this isn’t without irony. It shows that even during the most difficult of times, there’s always a little bit of hope that shines through.
CCU Celebrates Black History Month – Western Canada – The final edition of the three-part series was released March 25. Although this last edition ended up being released after February, we feel the information is always timely. In the spirit of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, and this year’s theme: “Fighting racism and xenophobia during and after COVID-19”, remember that viruses go away, but discrimination stays.
CCU Stewardship Manual Now Online – A PDF version is now available for download on our website.
Equal Pay Day – The first Equal Pay Day virtual rally was held Saturday April 4. Equal Pay Day draws attention to the gender pay gap – how much all women’s work is undervalued and underpaid relative to men’s. This year’s COVID-19 crisis highlights how women’s crucial work keeps our communities functioning.
Broadbent Institute Resources and Responses to COVID–19 – The Broadbent Institute has created this page to serve as a resource and sharing centre for those wanting to advocate for better worker and community protections and support in this time of crisis. It will be updated daily to track provincial and local calls for action and improvements won across Canada.
Also recommended: The Broadbent Blog – COVID-19 Emergency Benefits: Who’s included, who’s left out and the role of provinces – Many Canadian workers may not be eligible for federal benefits (Canada Emergency Response Benefit or EI) although this changes daily. The Broadbent Institute is a good way to keep up to date on who will and who will not be covered though wage assistance or other benefits available from the federal government.
Lastly, we just want to let you know ICLMG has been working to identify the ways in which their work protecting civil liberties in the context of the “War on Terror” and national security intersects with current concerns regarding civil liberties and human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. While serious action must be taken to address the pandemic, there must be transparency and oversight in order to ensure both effectiveness, but also to avoid overreach and undue erosion of human rights and civil liberties. Check out this article that highlights the reason for their concerns: Canada’s spy service moves quietly ahead with data-crunching plans by Jim Bronskill – Globe & Mail, March 30, 2020. More to come on this evolving issue.
Wishing everyone a safe and healthy journey through this. Take care and stay connected!
On behalf of the CCU-CSC officers,