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e-2509 (Employment and labour)

Initiated by Brian Gaensbauer from Nanaimo, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Prime Minister

  • The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in many workers being deemed an "essential service";
  • Many of these workers are paid little more than minimum wage;
  • Many essential service workers work with the public;
  • COVID-19 has made working with the public a hazardous activity;
  • Canadians are at risk of losing the services of workers who feel that the low pay is not worth the risk;
  • Small and medium-sized businesses which are declared an "essential service" do not necessarily have the extra resources to pay higher wages at this time but may not meet the criteria for a wage subsidy under other stimulus programs; and
  • Some of the most important workers and businesses providing important services to the public were left out of COVID-19 stimulus plans.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Prime Minister to use federal and/or provincial government stimulus funds to temporarily supplement wages to increase the minimum wage across Canada to $20/hour or more for workers who come into contact with the general public and have been deemed an "essential service".

Response by the Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Mr. Sean Fraser

The Government of Canada recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed particular demands on low-income workers providing essential services to Canadians. The Government of Canada’s comprehensive economic plan includes several programs that will support low-income essential workers across the country and help Canadians and business through this period of uncertainty.

Essential Workers Support Fund

On April 15, 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the government will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top-up to the salaries of workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19. Through this transfer, the Government of Canada will provide provinces and territories up to $3 billion in support to temporarily increase the wages of low-income essential workers.

Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.  All provinces and territories have announced or put in place wage top-up programs for their essential workers that will be supported by the COVID-19 essential workers support fund.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

On April 1, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), a wage subsidy of 75 per cent for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. The CEWS is intended to help businesses keep employees on the payroll and encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off, and better position businesses to bounce back following the crisis.

On May 15, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that it will extend the CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. Extending the program will give workers greater confidence that they will continue to get the support they need during these difficult times. The Government consulted with key business and labour representatives on potential adjustments to the program to incent jobs and growth, including the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold. Any potential changes to the CEWS will have as key objectives to maximize employment, ensure the CEWS reflects the immediate needs of businesses, and support the post-crisis economic recovery.



Open for signature
April 22, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
May 22, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
May 28, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00221)
Government response tabled
July 20, 2020
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia