September – General Meeting

Due to the ever-changing landscape of this pandemic we are postponing our September General membership meeting scheduled for 9 September to the week of 21 September 2020.

We are currently working with the Province to file for an exemption on the capacity limits of gatherings. The current limit for us would be thirty (30) people in a room and could pose a significant challenge du to the size of our membership.

Once we have that confirmation we will update the membership on how and when we will conduct the business of the Local at our next meeting.

Laird Williamson / President

Changes to Employment Insurance and New Canada Recovery Benefits: Q&A

August 25, 2020

On August 20, the federal government announced that eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) would be extended until September 26. However, after that date, Canadians currently receiving the CERB or in need of assistance will transition to Employment Insurance or to one of three new benefits. In order to increase access to Employment Insurance, the government has also announced temporary reforms to EI.

If I am receiving the CERB, what will happen to my benefits on September 27?

If you are receiving the CERB, your last four-week benefit period will be from August 30 to September 26. Beginning September 27, you will transition to either Employment Insurance benefits (regular, sickness, or caregiver) or you may be eligible for one of three new benefits: the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, or the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.

Who will now be eligible for EI benefits?

In order to qualify for EI regular benefits, EI sickness benefits, or EI caregiver benefits, workers must have 120 hours of insurable employment in the past 52 weeks or since their last EI claim. You must be available and looking for work and willing to accept reasonable job offers. Your application requires a Record of Employment from your employer and your ROE must not say that you quit your job voluntarily.

What if I am not eligible for EI benefits?

If you are not eligible for EI benefits, you may be eligible for one of three new benefits:

  • The Canada Recovery Benefit: This benefit is available to workers who had employment or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in either 2019 or 2020. You must have stopped working or had your hours reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but you must be available and looking for work.
  • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: This benefit is available to workers who are ill or must self-isolate. You must have had employment or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in either 2019 or 2020 and you must have missed a minimum of 60% of your scheduled work week. You cannot be receiving any other form of paid sick leave.
  • The Canada Caregiving Benefit: This benefit is available to workers who had employment or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in either 2019 or 2020. You must have missed a minimum of 60% of your scheduled work week due to the need to care for a dependent, whose school or childcare facility is closed or whose normal caregiver is unavailable. If the child’s normal care options are available, a medical note is required to certify that the child cannot attend.

Who is not covered by EI or by one of the new benefits?

Workers with less than $5,000 in employment income or who are not currently available for work are not eligible for EI regular benefits or for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). Furthermore, workers who stopped working for a reason not related to the COVID-19 pandemic are not eligible for the CRB. This means that students and workers who were already unemployed prior to the pandemic are not eligible.

Parents of children whose school or child care facility is open and who do not have a note from a medical professional certifying that their child is ill or at high risk of illness are not eligible for EI caregiver benefits or the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.

If I am already receiving the CERB, do I need to apply for EI?

If you applied for the CERB through Service Canada, your application should be automatically transferred to EI and you do not need to reapply again. If you applied for the CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency, you will need to apply for EI through Service Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/apply.html.

If I am already receiving the CERB, do I need to apply for one of the new Canada Recovery Benefits?

The new Canada Recovery Benefits must be applied for retroactively (after the time period covered has passed) so you will need to submit applications for these benefits even if you have received the CERB.

How do I apply for one of the new benefits?

Applications for the new Canada Recovery Benefits will be accepted through the Canada Revenue Agency beginning in October.

You do not need a Record of Employment to apply for one of these benefits; applications will be by attestation.

How much will I get?

The new Canada Recovery Benefit provides a flat rate benefit of $400 a week, while the new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the new Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit provide a flat rate benefit of $500 a week.

Employment Insurance benefits provide up to 55% of your weekly insurable earnings to a maximum of $573 a week. However, the government has set a minimum benefit level of $400 a week for the next year to ensure that everyone on EI receives at least as much as anyone receiving the CRB.

How long can I get benefits for?

The new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is available for a maximum of two weeks. The new Canada Recovery Benefit and the new Canada Caregiving Benefit are available for up to 26 weeks. EI benefits are available for between 26 to 45 weeks, depending on your regional rate of unemployment and the number of insurable hours of employment you have accumulated since your last claim.

What if I go back to work?

If you are receiving EI benefits, the Working While on Claim program allows you to earn up to 90% of your previous salary while still collecting benefits. However, your benefits will be reduced by 50 cents for every dollar of income you earn.

For the new Canada Recovery Benefit, you are allowed to earn income while receiving the benefit but if your annual income for the calendar year exceeds $36,000, then you will be asked to repay the benefit on your annual income tax return at the rate of 50% per dollar of additional income, such that the full benefit is repaid if you earn $46,000 a year or more.

For the new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the new Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, if you work more than 40% of your normally scheduled work week, you are not eligible for the benefit.

Are the benefits taxable?

Employment Insurance benefits and the new Canada Recovery Benefits are all taxable. All benefits will have taxes deducted by Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency before the payment is made to you.

Casual Employee Redeployment

As part of our collaborative work with the employer, redeployment opportunities were made available to Local 21 casual employees who were on lay off during the period 1 June – 6 July 2020.

Each employee was provided two (2) opportunities to express their interest in being redeployed:

  1. Through the Critical Skills Inventory.
  2. By responding to phone calls made by the employer in early June.

Interested employees were placed on a list and called in order of bargaining unit seniority.

Redeployments were a new process for the Local and the employer.

Efforts were made to ensure the process was fair and reasonable, but both parties acknowledged that the pace of pandemic response had the potential for unintentional glitches.

If you expressed your interest and feel that you did not fairly receive a redeployment opportunity, please contact the Local by 30 September 2020 via email – local21@regina.ca or by phone at (306) 352 -8282.

Sincerely,

Laird Williamson / President

 

Your Group Benefits / City of Regina / Manulife

Some members have inquired about certain benefits, so we took the liberty to post some of those questions and concerns for your information. For future inquires please contact the City of Regina or Manulife.

City of Regina Medical Services and Supplies

Note: For all medical equipment and supplies covered under this provision, Covered Expenses will be limited to the cost of the device or item that adequately meets the patient’s fundamental medical needs.

* Private Duty Nursing:

Services which are deemed to be within the practice of nursing and which are provided in the patient’s home by:

  1. a) a registered nurse; or
  2. b) a registered nursing assistant (or equivalent designation) who has completed an approved medications training program.

Covered Expenses are subject to a maximum of $10,000 per calendar year.

Charges for the following services are not covered:

  1. a) service provided primarily for custodial care, homemaking duties, or supervision;
  2. b) service performed by a nursing practitioner who is an Immediate Family Member or who lives with the patient;
  3. c) service performed while the patient is confined in a hospital, nursing home, or similar institution; or
  4. d) service which can be performed by a person of lesser qualification, a relative, friend, or a member of the patient’s household.

Pre-Determination of Benefits:

Before the services begin, it is advisable that you submit a detailed treatment plan with cost estimates. You will then be advised of any benefit that will be provided.

Ambulance

Charges for a licensed ambulance service provided in the patient’s province of residence, including air ambulance, to transfer the patient to the nearest hospital where adequate treatment is available.

Medical Equipment

Rental or, when approved by Manulife or your employer, purchase of:

  1. a) Mobility Equipment: crutches, canes, walkers, and wheelchairs; and
  2. b) Durable Medical Equipment: manual hospital beds, respiratory and oxygen equipment, and other durable equipment usually found only in hospitals.

Non-Dental Prostheses, Supports and Hearing Aids

  1. a) external prostheses; breast prostheses are limited to one per breast per 2 calendar years.
  2. b) surgical stockings, up to a maximum of 6 pairs per calendar year;
  3. c) surgical brassieres, up to a maximum of 2 calendar year;
  4. d) braces (other than foot braces), trusses, collars, leg orthosis, casts and splints;
  5. e) custom-made shoes which are required because of a medical abnormality that, based on medical evidence, cannot be accommodated in a stock-item orthopaedic shoe or a modified stock-item orthopaedic shoe, up to a maximum of 1 pair per calendar year (must be constructed by a certified orthopaedic footwear specialist and recommendation of either a physician, podiatrist, orthopaedic surgeon, physiatrist or rheumatologist is required);
  6. f) casted, custom-made orthotics, up to a maximum of $300 per calendar year (recommendation of either a physician, podiatrist, orthopaedic surgeon, physiatrist or rheumatologist is required). Orthotics include scaphoid pads, torque heels, insoles, metatarsal pads, and molded arch supports; and
  7. g) cost, installation, repair and maintenance of hearing aids, (including charges for batteries) to a maximum of $500 per 5 calendar years. However, for Dependent Children under age 21 requiring a hearing aid for each ear, the maximum will be $500 per Child for each hearing aid per 3 calendar years.

Other Supplies and Services

  1. a) ileostomy, colostomy and incontinence supplies;
  2. b) medicated dressings and burn garments;
  3. c) wigs and hairpieces for patients with temporary hair loss as a result of medical treatment, up to a maximum of $500 per calendar year;
  4. d) oxygen;
  5. e) microscopic and other similar diagnostic tests and services rendered in a licensed laboratory in the province of Quebec; and
  6. f) charges for the treatment of accidental injuries to natural teeth or jaw, provided the treatment is rendered within 12 months of the accident, excluding injuries due to biting or chewing;
  7. g) blood pressure monitor, to a maximum of 1 monitor per 5 calendar years;
  8. h) preci-jet auto-jet insulin injectors;
  9. i) continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, once every 3 years, up to a maximum of $2,500. CPAP supplies are not subject to Reasonable and Customary limitations;
  10. j) treatment rendered to cardiac patients under a recognized cardiac rehabilitation program where such treatments have been prescribed by the attending Physician for rehabilitation, limited to a $300 lifetime maximum per person; and
  11. k) viscosupplementation.

Local 21 Email Account

We have experienced questionable technical difficulties in relation to our email account… cupe.local21@sasktel.net 

These difficulties occurred around 30 June – 9 July 2020.

Please know that we have contacted SaskTel to investigate this matter to ascertain what has occurred.

If you sent an email to this account between 30 June and 9 July 2020, we ask that you resubmit your email as it may have been lost.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Laird Williamson / President

In-house approach helps Regina municipal workers during pandemic

CUPE NATIONAL 

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https://cupe.ca/house-approach-helps-regina-municipal-workers-during-pandemic

Regina’s outside municipal local, CUPE 21, is taking an in-house approach to keeping as many members working as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. The strategy is protecting public services and saving good jobs.

Before the pandemic, the local’s collective agreement required the employer to give notice of any work being contracted out, and the local would follow up, making the case to keep jobs in house.

That work has become more proactive, with the local monitoring tenders the city is putting out and making a more detailed case earlier in the process, says CUPE 21 President Laird Williamson.

The local has about 1,500 members. When the pandemic hit, the city laid off about 350 members and deferred the recall of another nearly 450 casual workers from the previous season.

The local negotiated a redeployment agreement that let members move between departments, as well as taking a much closer look at city tenders.

“Every job counts when people are facing layoffs,” says Williamson. To date, the local has prevented contracting out or is pitching contracting in that will save nearly 30 full-time equivalent positions.

Inter-union cooperation key

Cooperation with other city unions has been key. The local has been working closely with CUPE 7, representing the city’s inside workers, and Amalgamated Transit Union local 588.

The three unions made a joint submission to city council calling for the employer to provide a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program (SUB) to laid-off workers. CUPE 21’s submission urged the city to be a good employer and “choose its employees first.”

“It set a tone that’s carried forward,” says Wanda Edwards, the local’s staff representative. “The employer has been very positive.”

Early in the pandemic, the city put out a call for contractors to clean city transit facilities – work that had been contracted out for decades. “This is work our members could do, and we would do it well,” says Williamson.

The local signed an agreement with the employer and ATU 588, and successfully made the case for CUPE 21 members to do the work.

Since then, the local’s made the case for city forestry workers to do tree planting for two new dog parks that are being built, pulling that work out of a tender and keeping it in house. The local is also working to contract in some concrete sidewalk maintenance and graffiti removal services.

In-house expertise an asset

The local executive has representation from every city department, making it easy to draw on in-house expertise to contract work in, or prevent contracting out. “We engage and tap the knowledge of the people who know the work best,” says Williamson.

Williamson’s advice for other locals working on contracting out is to “attack the problem, not each other.” The local has been able to work with the employer to bring work in house because they could show city workers are the right choice for the job.

Every win matters, no matter the size. “Even a few jobs open the door for more discussions,” says Edwards. “When the employer knows you’re doing your homework, they’re willing to listen.”

Election Results

President:

Laird Williamson

Grievance Chair:

Shawn Neilson (Citizen Services Division)

Executive at Large:

Heather Woolsey

Kelly McDonald

Darren Fox

Chris Szakacs

Congratulations / thank you to all the members that participated in this process.

 

Pandemic Engagement Pulse Survey

• Every person at the City of Regina has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way.
• The City would like to hear about your experiences, to check in on your health and wellbeing, and to see if you’ve been getting the information and support you need during this critical time.
• Please take a few moments to complete this survey which is available to all employees from: Tuesday, May 19 to Tuesday, May 26.
• Your feedback is important to the success of the City.

Survey Link:

https://surveys.mcleanco.com/engagement/surveys/34818/kiosk

PDF poster:

EC Employee Pandemic Pulse Survey