COVID-19 and Income Supports for Workers Q and A

What is your situation? 

I am an employee with COVID-19 and/or in isolation: 

  • Your employer may have a short-term disability or sick leave program that you need to apply for before applying for EI Sickness Benefits. Check your collective agreement or contact your CUPE local.
  • If you have worked more than 600 hours in the past year or since your last EI claim, you qualify for EI sickness benefits. For more information on EI Sickness Benefits, check out the section on EI below.
  • If you have not worked more than 600 hours in the past year or since your last EI claim, the federal government is providing an Emergency Care Benefit, which will provide benefits comparable to EI for up to 15 weeks. More details will be forthcoming from the Federal government.
  • Your job will be protected during this leave of absence by federal and provincial legislation.

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COVID-19 : FYI for CUPE members

The Precautionary Principal
Knowledge about how the virus is transmitted has yet to be fully understood. For this reason, CUPE is recommending that health care settings adopt the precautionary principle towards infection prevention and control of COVID-19.

The precautionary principle means taking action to prevent infection from potentially serious viruses without having to wait for complete scientific proof that a course of action is necessary. While there is continued uncertainty that the virus is not spread through the air, we must conduct ourselves as if it were.

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When to self isolate : COVID-19

“Public sector employees who travel outside of Canada, including to the United States, are required to self-isolate for 14 days when they get back to Canada. This includes health care workers, teachers, civil servants and other public sector employees.

Public school students and children who attend regulated childcare centres are required to self-isolate for 14 days if they have travelled outside the country, including to the United States. This rule applies even if their parents or caregivers aren’t public sector employees.”


The Long-Term Care Committee will be offering two scholarships valued at $250.00 each, available to members who’s locals are affiliated with the LTCCC, to honour our past member Michael McNeil.

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International hires are helping but challenges remain for long-term care in Nova Scotia

“We haven’t seen much change,” says Louise Riley, a continuing care assistant who chairs CUPE’s Long-Term Care Committee. “We are still working short and we are still being mandated (i.e. forced by the employer) to work overtime. We have lots of people out sick or on Workers’ Compensation claims. We need more CCAs in nursing homes – period.”

Minister Delorey Announces CCA Bursary Program

Sister Louise Riley – Chair of the Long Term Care Coordinating Committee, and CUPE NS President – Nan McFadgen attended a panel discussion today in Annapolis Valley where Minister Randy Delorey made an announcement at the Kingstec Nova Scotia Community College about government investing $460,000 into the launch of a bursary program for individuals taking the CCA Program.  Delorey says there will be 115 bursaries worth $4000 each, which will cover tuition and books to cover the program for students attending NSCC or Université Sainte Anne.

Delorey stated “Our hope is that this financial assistance will remove the barriers for some students waiting to enter the field, and encourage more to enrol – and interim, as I’ve mentioned earlier, help address staffing challenges across the workforce”