Financial Secretary Report April 29th 2020

The Covid-19 epidemic has impacted the majority of the workplaces represented by Unifor Local 199, affecting our members lives. Over the past 5 weeks, 19 units have laid off all or some of our members. Other units specifically these with front-line workers in the healthcare sector, are busier than normal.  All our members who were laid off should have applied for E.I. by now. Members who applied prior to March 15th should be collecting regular E.I. and members who applied after March 15th should be receiving CERB.

Please continue to complete the bi-weekly EI report to keep your claim running & a record of dates/payments. We also recommend setting up a My Service Canada Account.

If you have returned to work or have income from wages or any other earned income you need to report this in your reporting weeks. Make sure you declare the income for the week you earned it, not the week it was paid.  CERB, EI and SUB money do not need to be declared when reporting.

It is important that you keep an accurate record of all the dates you worked, were laid off, when you were paid, and the amount earned.  If you were overpaid benefits, the federal government will want it back.  Income tax is not deducted from the CERB payment; however, an adjustment will be made when you do your 2020 income tax return. This is useful information to keep in mind for the next few months. We also strongly recommend you set up a My Service Canada account which will help you considerably.

For more information please refer back to the following articles on our website. I have also added a list of helpful links on the bottom of the page

  1. Applying for EI (March 20th)
  2. Reporting for EI/CERB (April 1st)
  3. EI,CERB & SUB (April 9th)
  4. GM SUB Issue (April 15th)

The following is information specific to each unit dealing with layoffs:

General Motors  

Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB)

For members who have restarted an old E.I. claims, but had not received a SUB payment, this error has been corrected and most are now getting their SUB.

If you were laid off after March 15th and had no existing EI claim you have been automatically switched to CERB. These members still have not been paid SUB benefits. The National Union continues to lobby the government to resolve the issue so that GM can pay this benefit. Please be aware this problem occurred because of the new CERB legislation established by the federal government.  Both the Union and GM have lobbied the government to allow your SUB payments to be processed. Tim McKinnon reciently posted an update about CERB, EI and SUB

To keep up to date, we recommend members at GM join the GM Unit Facebook page and also watch for updates on the local union website.  You can also join the new GM St Catharines Propulsion Plant Facebook page This page is controlled by GM and they will post plant information, the plant start-up date and protocols for returning to work. The restart date is not known at this time.

Genaire Ltd 

Those members previously on an EI workshare last summer, have now been identified and I have sent the list to Service Canada to hopefully have the waiting period from this layoff waived. Any new claims are now switched over to CERB. I know some members have returned to work, but all members must continue to do your EI report. Any CERB money, just like EI money, does not need to be declared.

If you have returned to work or have any other earned money, then you need to report these earnings in your reporting weeks. Remember to do it for the week you earn it, not the week you receive it. If your workplace paid you for Good Friday and you received a full week of EI for that week, EI will send you a letter informing you they know about the overpayment. CRA will then send a letter later asking you to pay back 50% for that day’s pay to them.

Securitas, Spencer Butcher Group, Assemble Rite, Tora, Casino Security, Brunner Manufacturing, Knights FM, Grimsby Ford, Brian Cullen, Niagara Motors, John Bear, Dave Chev

Some, if not most. have been laid off over the last few weeks. If you had an existing claim, then you will be paid E.I.  Any new claims have now been switched over to CERB.  All laid off and those who have returned to work must continue to do your EI report, even if collecting CERB.  When reporting, CERB or EI payments do not need to be declare.  However, if you have returned to work you need to report this income.  Remember to report the income for the week you earn it, not the week you receive it.

Welded Tube and Ed Learn Ford

If you have been laid off or have returned to work then continue to do your EI reports as above. If you have been told by the company that they have applied for the wage subsidy program for you, then ask your workplace office administrator how you should report your EI for the weeks you have been switched over to this. If the companies claim is back dated, you may have been paid more weeks of CERB then you are entitled to, which you will have to pay back.

City of Welland

The City of Welland has placed their members on 12-hour shifts, rotating working days for the last few weeks and have also laid off some members. If you need assistance with your EI application, please call myself or Greg at the hall. 905 682 2611.

Again, I can’t stress this enough. If you’re collecting CERB money, the federal government has said they will review everyone’s EI reports and your workplace payroll.  If you were paid to many weeks of CERB they will expect it to be paid back.

This has been a difficult situation for everyone, and I hope you stay positive and safe. I understand it has been next to impossible to reach Service Canada to answer any of your questions.  Fortunately, over the past five weeks both Greg and I have been able to resolve most of our members issues and questions with our EI contacts.  If you have any questions regarding your EI, please contact me at 905 682 2611 Ext 227 and I will do my best to help you.

Steve McMullen
Financial Secretary


Useful links (Updated)