We know you have a lot of questions about how COVID-19 affects you, your family and your work place. UFCW 832 has put together this information sheet to help answer some of your questions.
What if I think I’ve got COVID-19?
Is it COVID-19 or just a regular cold or flu? It can be hard to tell. If you’re not sure you can do a self-assessment online at Manitoba Shared Health;
If your symptoms do seem like you might have COVID-19 you need to call Health links and speak with a nurse. You cannot get tested for COVID-19 until you call Health links.
Health links 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257
What if I can’t work or I’ve been laid off?
The existing Employment Insurance (EI) system has been revamped in the wake of the pandemic in order to be more responsive to the needs of workers in our current economy.
Some of the temporary changes that have been implemented are hourly credits, which reduces the number of hours worked that an applicant needs in order to qualify for benefits to 120 and the implementation of a minimum benefit of at least $500 before taxes or $300 for extended parental leave benefits.
If you had been receiving CERB benefits, you may also not have to apply for EI, however, if you have a social insurance number beginning in 9, are self-employed, previously indicated that you had returned to work full-time, or received your CERB benefits through the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), you will have to apply directly for EI.
If you don’t qualify for EI, there may be other programs that are right for you. The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is very similar to CERB and provides benefits for those workers who don’t qualify for EI but haven’t yet been able to return to work. The CRB is almost a CERB-lite program in that it provides a weekly benefit of $500 to eligible workers who have lost their income entirely, or had it reduced by at least 50%, due to the COVID-19 pandemic for up to 26 weeks.
Alternatively, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) provides a benefit of $500 a week for those who have lost their income as a result of having to care for a sick child or family member or have a higher risk of serious health outcomes due to COVID-19. Like the CRB, this program can last for up to 26 weeks.
Finally, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) provides $500 per week to workers who have contracted COVID-19, or had to self-isolate due to COVID-19, and is available for up to two weeks. The CRSB is also available to workers who have an underlying condition that would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.
What if I’m worried about debt?
If you’re out of work, you might be worried about paying your bills or managing your debt. For help you can contact the Credit Counselling Society of Manitoba. They are a non-profit group of professionals who can help you pay back your debt.
Credit Counselling Society Manitoba
204-942-8789 or 1-888-527-8999
What if I’m really feeling stressed about COVID-19?
It’s understandable to be feeling stressed out right now. The news is scary and no one is sure when things will be back to normal.
Here are some tips for managing stress;
If you’d like to speak with a therapist, for free, go to this link:
If you, or a family member, has an urgent mental health need please contact one of the following resources;
Klinic Crisis Line
204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019
Manitoba Suicide Prevention & Support Line
Kids Help Phone (national line available to Manitoba Youth)
Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line
204-786-8631 or 1-888-292-7565
Manitoba Farm, Rural & Northern Support Services
supportline.ca – online counselling
1-866-367-3276 (hours Mon-Fri 10 am to 9 pm)
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line
Counselling available in English and French – upon request, in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktut
Can I refuse work if I don’t feel safe?
The Workplace Safety and Health Act gives employees the right to refuse work if they believe on reasonable grounds that the work constitutes a danger to their safety or health.
Your Union has received a large number of member concerns about going to work and interacting with the public and/or with co-workers. At this time, Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health has determined that attending work in the context of the Corona virus does not constitute a danger as long as precautions are being taken by the employer and employees. It is important that you familiarize yourself with all employer implemented precautions and that you follow all of the rules carefully.
What if I don’t think my employer is doing enough to protect me?
As your Union we have been raising issues as they arise with all of the employer groups. If you believe that there are other precautions that can be taken, please contact your Union Representative.
You can also contact Workplace Safety and Health directly by clicking on the link below or calling the numbers listed below.
Winnipeg: 204-957-SAFE (7233)
Toll-free: 1-855-957-SAFE (7233)
I think I got COVID-19 from my workplace, do I file for WCB?
Yes, you have the right to file a claim with the Workers Compensation Board if you have reason to believe you got COVID-19 at your workplace.
What if I can’t go to work but my employer hasn’t laid me off?
There are many reasons why you might not be able to work because of COVID-19. Maybe you need to take care of someone who is ill? Or perhaps you have no one to look after your children? If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around someone who has the virus you need to stay home.
You have a few options;
- You can ask your employer if you can use your accrued sick time, bank time or vacation leave.
- You can ask your employer if you can use short term disability coverage.
- You can apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
My doctor (or healthcare professional) has told me I have to self isolate. How will I get paid?
You may be able to use sick leave or other paid leave credits such as vacation or accrued overtime. If not, you can apply for CRSB.
*Some employers are doing more for their employees, check with your Union Rep
I have to self isolate or quarantine, will I lose my job?
No, under federal law your job is protected for up to 16 weeks if you must miss work because of reasons related to COVID-19. You do not need a doctor’s note but your employer may ask you to write a letter explaining why you are off work.
What if I’m scared to go to work because of COVID-19?
It can be scary to go anywhere during the pandemic. If you need to stay home because of a medical leave or family responsibility you may qualify for unpaid statutory leave.
What if my employer is not properly following physical distancing rules?
First, call your Union rep and let them know, they may be able to resolve
the problem quickly.
If that doesn’t work, the province has now put fines in places for those who
disregard public health orders.
In Winnipeg, reports of non-compliance can be made by calling: 311 or by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Twitter:
Outside of Winnipeg, reports of non-compliance can be made to the Manitoba
Government Inquiry (MGI) inquiry line at 204-945-3744 or by email at
For more information:
UFCW Covid News
Government of Manitoba COVID-19 Resources
Government of Canada COVID-19 Resources