Joint Statement by the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour, and leaders from labour and industry regarding support for workers and employers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis


April 15, 2020              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

The Minister of Labour, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, and leaders from labour and industry issued the following joint statement today after a teleconference with stakeholders on challenges workers and employers in federally regulated industries are facing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Canada is facing an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. The world of work is experiencing rapid and significant disruptions that are affecting everyone—employers, workers, their families and surrounding communities. The weeks and months ahead will not be easy, but we are going to get through this together.

A number of extraordinary but necessary steps have been taken to protect and support Canadian workers and businesses during this crisis. Businesses across Canada have had to dramatically alter or shut down their operations to help flatten the curve, and this has had an enormous impact on employers and workers alike. To help get them through this incredibly challenging time, the Government of Canada introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to help workers impacted by COVID-19 put food on the table and keep a roof over their head, as well as to help businesses keep their employees on the payroll. To ensure workers can take time off work to deal with situations related to COVID-19, such as school closures and self-isolation, the Government created a new leave under the Canada Labour Code and is waiving medical certificate requirements to access existing leaves.

Last week, as representatives from government, labour and employers who act for approximately 1 million federally regulated workers and thousands of employers in sectors like aviation, trucking, rail, banking, telecommunications and broadcasting, as well as the courier industry, we came together to discuss the steps we’ve taken so far to ensure that workplaces are safe, workers are protected, and businesses and the Canadian economy are as strong as they can be. Canadian business, workers and all stakeholders continue to benefit from the expert guidance and strategies of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization and other public health authorities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety is currently offering a number of online courses and resources related to COVID-19 free of charge, and is working on additional sector-specific best practices.

We also listened to one another’s concerns and explored options for additional supports and protections for workers and businesses, especially small businesses, while keeping essential goods and services available to Canadians. We agreed that as the situation continues to evolve, we must remain flexible and adaptable in how we respond, and above all, we must continue to work together. Our meeting reinforced the fact that we share common goals—to protect the health, safety, and well-being of Canadian workers and keep Canadian businesses ready to come roaring back and ensure the economy can recover by getting people back to work quickly and in a safe manner after the crisis ends—and today, we reaffirm our commitment to continuing to work together to achieve these goals, for today and for when we have defeated COVID‑19.

Finally, we took the opportunity to recognize the vital role played by the many federally regulated workers and employers who are on the front lines delivering critical goods and services to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Now more than ever, their work is essential to our country’s well-being, and on behalf of all Canadians we would like to thank them for the important work they do.”

List of stakeholders and their representatives:

  • Federally Regulated Employers – Transportation and Communications (FETCO), Derrick Hynes, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Unifor, Jerry Dias, President
  • Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), Hassan Yussuff, President
  • Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Dan Kelly, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board of Governors
  • Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), Stephen Laskowski, President
  • Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), Neil Parmenter, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), Jacques Létourneau, President
  • Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), Daniel Boyer, President

Associated Links

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Dustin Fitzpatrick
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Filomena Tassi, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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