IAM Canada News

Letter to Trudeau: Wage Subsidy Program: Canadian Workers’ Lifeline – Not to be Taken Away

July 7, 2020
By Email: justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street,
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Mr. Trudeau:


Re:       Wage Subsidy Program: Canadian Workers’ Lifeline – Not to be Taken Away

I am writing to you today on behalf of 50,000 active and retired Canadian members of the Machinists Union.

At the outset, I wish to acknowledge your government for the implementation of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program. This program has injected much-needed economic security into millions of Canadian households, during the most difficult crisis of our time. This included many thousands of IAM families, at a time when they needed help the most. The CEWS program has made a significant difference in their lives as they struggle through this pandemic and the financial hardship that has accompanied it.

The difference between CEWS and CERB or EI is some $1,400 per month in family income; for many workers, this covers their monthly rent or mortgage payment.

However, the program is not without its shortcomings, inasmuch as employers must apply for the program, and must agree to participate. On behalf of our members, at the outset, we urged all IAM-represented workplaces to participate in CEWS to the fullest extent possible. This was met with some degree of success during the first 12 weeks of the program as many employers signed up. But during the extended period June 7 – August 29 it has not been applied in a significant number of the workplaces where we represent members. This includes large and impactful employers such as Air Canada and Bombardier, among others.

I write today to seek your support in encouraging all employers to participate in the CEWS program to the maximum extent available to them. This is not only good for our members and for all Canadian workers, but it is good for Canada as we strive to maintain a strong and healthy working class during this pandemic. In the near to mid-term, we expect to see the pandemic abate, and our economic recovery will begin; it is absolutely crucial that workers be protected in the interim period.

Specifically, we respectfully request that the Federal Government must make the protection of jobs and workers a condition of any public support of corporations seeking assistance. They must have a plan that protects the jobs and salaries of workers; this plan must have as its goal the return to work of their entire workforce. Frankly, it is not acceptable for public tax dollars to fund employers who will not make this commitment to their employees and to all Canadians. Further, I urge you to make the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) program conditional upon an employer plan and commitment to make the protection and creation of jobs a condition of the loan. Workers must be at the heart of any public funds and support of big businesses.

The CEWS program is an urgent and immediate need of our members and all Canadian workers, and employers that participate in the CEWS program signal in a very real way the value that their employees add to the business and to the Canadian economy. Government should urge employers to participate in CEWS during the extended period.

It is in your power as Government to impose conditions on Corporations seeking to access Federal Assistance through the LEEFF program or otherwise. On behalf of 50,000 IAM members across Canada, I urge you to act accordingly.

Respectfully submitted,

Stan Pickthall
General Vice President


The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance
The Honourable Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the Opposition
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transportation

Attachment: over the past several weeks, more than 1,200 IAM members and others have urged continued support for CEWS and sent e-letters to the Office of the Prime Minister, Office of the Finance Minister, and to the Leader of the NDP.

As below:

Wage Subsidy Program: Canadian Workers’ Lifeline – Not to be Taken Away


Sent to:

Prime Minister Trudeau
Finance Minister Morneau
NDP Leader Singh


9,000 air transportation workers and IAM members are calling on you as their legislative representative to ensure employers across Canada maintain a critical lifeline for these workers, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program. This is not just a plea to help workers, this is about economic stability and health of the Canadian economy for years to come. Decisions made now will impact generations of Canadians and determine the fate of an industry of a national and strategic importance, air transportation.

Any measures that can be taken to mitigate and support workers at this unprecedented time, one that is even being called a larger disaster than the Great Depression, must be taken swiftly. Employers need to treat IAM members in a dignified manner; after all, these workers are at the heart of many businesses and global reputations of Canadian companies.

With over 50,000 members across Canada, the IAMAW is requesting that employers participate in the CEWS program. The Union will work to ensure this valuable benefit continues to be available for IAMAW members during these turbulent times. 

Workers always bear the brunt of economic downturns and disasters with a great cost to their lives. We’re calling on you to right this wrong by adding your name to demand employers maintain their employees on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program.


This article was originally posted on the IAM Canada website. View the original post here: Letter to Trudeau: Wage Subsidy Program: Canadian Workers’ Lifeline – Not to be Taken Away