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Important Urgent News for Members Regarding COVID-19

To All Members of the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario:

This notice is being provided to you to give you our best current advice concerning the COVID-19 crisis.

As you know, things are changing by the hour and your Union will do its best to keep you updated as we become aware of new developments.

Should I Self-Isolate?

We are urging all members of the Carpenters’ Union to put their health and that of their families first. Therefore, members have to be prepared to self-isolate if necessary.

If you have come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, or who is experiencing symptoms, the answer is yes, you should self-isolate and consult the Government of Canada’s and the Government of Ontario’s websites.

The Government of Canada has that advised all those who have recently travelled out of the country and are returning back to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether or not they are experiencing symptoms or knowingly came into contact with anyone who has tested positive. 

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, or difficulty breathing), the answer is yes you should self-isolate and contact a medical professional for further instructions.

Legislation has been announced to protect the jobs of workers forced into quarantine or self-isolation as well as those who need to care for children locked out of schools and daycares. It was announced that workers would not be required to show sick notes if they cannot show up for work.

What If I Can’t Work?

If you are directed to self-isolate or are quarantined, you may be eligible for EI benefits, without any waiting period. 

If you are laid off for shortage of work (including because your employer has temporarily ceased operations), you may also be eligible for EI benefits. It is not clear whether the regular waiting period will be waived in such cases. 

Do not voluntarily request a layoff, as this may affect your future employment and/or entitlement to the special EI arrangements.

Regardless of the stated reason for you being sent home, you should register for EI immediately.

The Government of Canada’s website provides further information regarding EI entitlement. (

If you are a pieceworker who cannot operate because you are sick or because your site is shut down, you may be entitled to regular or special benefits through your benefit plan. The trustees of the various plans are currently considering how best to respond to this situation. More details will follow as soon as they are available.

Should I Go On The Out-of-Work List?

If you are self-isolating or quarantined, you should not go on the out-of-work list. If you have been laid off and are not expecting to be recalled, the answer is yes, you can go on the out-of-work list.

When signing up to the out-of-work list, expect to be asked whether there is any reason for you to be self-isolating or quarantined (i.e. recent return to the country, experiencing symptoms, recent contact with an individual who has tested positive) and the Union is expecting all members to provide honest information.

Union Halls

If you are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, difficulty breathing, if you have been in contact with anyone experiencing those symptoms, or you are in self-isolation or quarantine, do not visit or enter any Union hall. Your business representatives are available by telephone or email. Contact the hall if you do not have the telephone number of your business representative.

Help Yourself

Health Canada and the Centres for Disease Control have strongly recommended that people practice social distancing. Here are some of the everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases (including COVID-19):

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water;

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;

  • Practice social distancing, avoid shaking hands and non-essential person to person contact. Maintain a 6 foot distance between yourself and others;

  • Avoid large gatherings;

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;

  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately;

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe;

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;

  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority;

  • Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 information.

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