CUPE calls on public health officials to conduct immediate inspections of private personal care homes

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling on public health officials, including the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, to immediately conduct in-person inspections at each private personal care home that currently has COVID-positive cases, and automatically launch inspections for any future outbreaks.

“We need to be proactive and have public officials inspect these privately-operated homes,” says Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator. “The results of the inspection during the Parkview Place outbreak yielded important findings and recommendations, including staffing and personal protective equipment (PPE) that can help that facility fight the spread of COVID-19, but we cannot let other facilities get to that point.”

CUPE learned on Tuesday, that Maples Personal Care Home, operated by Revera, now has 70 active cases of COVID-19, including seven staff.

“Government and private operators dragged their feet before, and we cannot have a repeat of what happened at Parkview Place,” said McAteer. “We are asking for public health inspectors to immediately conduct in-person reviews at all private care homes with current outbreaks, and automatically launch inspections at future outbreaks to ensure each home is prepared for, and can prevent an outbreak.”

CUPE represents support staff in 10 private personal care homes in Manitoba, including Revera facilities: Parkview Place; Heritage Lodge; Maples Personal Care Home; Charleswood Care Centre; Kildonan Personal Care Centre; Valleyview; and Extendicare facilities: Oakview Place; River East Personal Care Home; Tuxedo Villa; and Hillcrest Place.

CUPE 204 files 55 policy grievances against WRHA, Shared Health

Front-line health care support staff cite inconsistent provision of PPE

WINNIPEG – Seven months into a global pandemic, and many front-line health care support staff in Manitoba are still fighting for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep themselves and the people they care for safe, says CUPE.

“Hospitals, long-term care homes, and home care employers are inconsistent in the provision of adequate PPE to support staff on the front-line in the fight against COVID-19,” said Debbie Boissonneault, President of CUPE
Local 204, representing 14,500 health care support staff within the WRHA and Shared Health.  “We are hearing from support staff across the city who are being denied or having to argue for protective equipment.”

On Monday, October 19th, CUPE 204 filed policy grievances at fifty-five health care facilities across the WRHA and Shared Health, citing the inconsistent provision of N95 masks to support staff working with COVID-19 positive patients, residents, or clients. In some cases, face shields are no longer being provided.

While health officials cite that N95’s will only be given in circumstances where aerosol transmission of the virus could be present, CUPE contends that health care support staff work closest with patients and residents, including bathing, feeding, and cleaning them, and that safety should be automatic.

Grievances include Middlechurch Home of Winnipeg, Misericordia Health Centre, and Golden West Centennial Lodge, all of which declared outbreaks of COVID-19 yesterday.

“In some facilities, health care aides have to beg to be provided appropriate PPE before working with
COVID-positive community members,” said Boissonneault. “We believe if a health care worker is assigned to a COVID unit, resident, or client they should be automatically provided every possible protection available without delay or resistance.”

Grievances were also filed on behalf of home care workers, many of whom have still not been fitted for N95 masks. Some are also not being provided information on whether their client is COVID positive or awaiting testing.

“Home care workers have been working incredibly hard to support their clients, but they are being treated like their health and safety are second-tier to the rest of the health care system,” said Boissonneault. “These workers visit very vulnerable Manitobans, and we need to make sure both the worker and the community member are protected.”

Home care workers also have very little “sick time” available if they are asked to self-isolate. While the new Federal sick time program will be helpful, it will not go far enough to cover a 14-day self-isolation period.

“We need government and employers to step up and keep all health care support staff safe…period,” said Boissonneault. “We have seen what can happen if we are not taking every measure to protect staff and residents, and we need action now.”

These grievances were submitted at the start of Manitoba’s Health Care Support Workers’ Recognition week, a week usually declared to celebrate the commitment of Manitoba’s health care support staff.


Q&A for CUPE health care locals: 14-day paid administrative leave & working single sites

CUPE has been working hard to get answers from health authorities. The following Q&A provides some answers to frequently asked questions from health care members. Keep in mind, this update is as of April 24, 2020.

Things change very quickly, and CUPE will continue trying to provide up-to-date information.

14-day Paid Administrative Leave

Q. How are staff to access/apply for the 14-days paid sick leave from the Province of Manitoba?
A. Managers and/or supervisors are supposed to review anyone who was off due to workplace exposure automatically. This applies for pick-up shifts and part-time and casual shifts that were scheduled during the period. However, it only applies while employees are asymptomatic. If employees become symptomatic, then the coverage ends and income shifts to sick time. If staff become symptomatic during quarantine, they should notify their manager and OESH.

Q. Does it apply for people who were quarantined due to travel or community exposure as well as at work?
A. No. It only covers possible exposure in the workplace.

Q. Does it apply to folks who are sent home during the onsite screening?
A. No, members will have to utilize sick leave, vacation or any banks that they have. If you do not have any of those, you may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI). Information about these programs and how to apply can be found at:

Q. Does it apply for community/primary care clinics?
A. Yes, if the exposure is at work.

Q. When the claim is retroactive, how will it work if someone has received EI and/or CERB for that time frame?
A. If you received CERB or EI for the quarantine/isolation period and then receive this paid administrative leave from the Employer – you must report to CERB/EI when you receive the money.

Q. In what cases should I report to Workers Compensation Board (WCB) and fill out incident reports?
A. When you have been exposed at work, you should fill in an incident report and make a claim with WCB as well.

Q. Does it apply for private personal care homes (PPCH)?
A. Yes, it applies to both public and private personal care homes. However, the private (Revera and Extendicare) do not fall under the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) so how it will be implemented may be different.

Working Single Sites


Q. Do I have to tell my Employers if I have another job?
A. Yes, during this pandemic you have to tell the Employer about additional jobs. You should not have to provide your social insurance number. Your Employer has that on record already.

Q. When will I have to start working at only one site?
A. The provincial government says that as of May 1, 2020, staff will have to work at only one site.

Q. What will happen to my EFT from the site I do not choose?
A. The Employer is saying they will try to make everyone whole. This means trying to provide you extra hours at the site at which you choose to work. If you have more than a full-time EFT between your sites, they are also trying to figure out how they will handle that. CUPE has stated members should not lose income during this process.

What will happen to my benefits and pension?
A. CUPE has stated that members’ benefits and pensions must be protected. The Employer has said that they will look into this.

Q. What will happen to my wage?
A. CUPE has stated that staff should all make the higher public sector wages, no matter where you choose to work during this time.

What will happen to my seniority and vacation/sick time accrual at the site I do not choose to work at?
A. CUPE has raised this as a concern. The Employer has not made a decision at this time.

Other Resources:

Federal Income Supports:

CUPE calls for immediate PPE and staffing strategy for Manitoba’s personal care homes: “things could get desperate”

Winnipeg – Manitoba’s largest union is calling for an immediate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and staffing strategy for long-term care facilities in Manitoba, including a commitment from health officials to ensuring consistent and adequate PPE for all staff in personal care homes.

“We are hearing from health care support workers in many long-term care homes, public and private,
that front-line staff are not receiving adequate PPE, and that available levels change daily,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator.

Health officials confirm that there are challenges with PPE shipments, and there is an effort to “conserve” PPE, but CUPE believes we cannot afford a single hole in the protection of staff and residents.

“We know that care homes have some of our most vulnerable citizens, and we need to ensure that caregivers have every tool possible to protect themselves and the residents because things could get desperate.”

According to Shared Health guidelines, only staff who have “direct contact” with residents are provided PPE, while other staff are not. This raises concerns from CUPE considering all staff are operating in close quarters in personal care homes, with highly vulnerable residents. For example, porters are not provided PPE despite their role in transporting residents.

“Staff desperately need consistent PPE,” said McAteer. “This is compounded by the fact that longterm care facilities in Manitoba have been working short staffed for years, with insufficient staff to resident ratios, and if one or two staff get ill or are told to self-quarantine, it will affect the entire facility.”

For years CUPE has been calling on governments and private care homes to increase staffing levels to ensure residents are receiving high quality care. In times of a pandemic, staffing shortages can result in major safety issues if staff are told to self-quarantine.

“We know that personal care homes across Canada are facing significant staffing challenges and the ability to provide PPE, but we believe there is no time for delays,” said McAteer.

“Other provinces are dealing with serious outbreaks at care homes, and significant challenges with the safety of staff and residents. We cannot make those same mistakes here.”

Manitoba Government responds to CUPE’s demand for 14 days paid leave, more information needed

Today the Manitoba government announced 14-days paid administrative leave for health care workers who are sent home due to possible contact with COVID-19 in the workplace. This announcement is retroactive to March 1st.

CUPE has been advocating for 14 paid sick days for all Manitoba workers who are told by their employers to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 19 CUPE Manitoba organized a petition to call for 14 days paid leave, which garnered over 1,200 emails being sent to the government.

“We are glad the government is listening to CUPE, and moving to provide paid leave for health care workers who are sent home due to possible contact with COVID-19. This will ensure these health care workers will not be forced to use their sick banks to self isolate,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE’s Health Care Coordinator.

“We want the government to extend this paid leave to all workers who are sent home by their employers for the 14 day isolation period,” added McAteer.

Sick banks are intended to ensure workers can take time off if they get sick. When those sick banks are used for self isolation, it results in workers not having enough sick leave if they get ill after the pandemic.

The government’s plan to provide paid leave for health workers in self-isolation due to contact with COVID-19 in the workplace will ensure these health workers have enough sick days available when the pandemic is over.

It is unclear if this extends to front-line workers who are told by the employer to self-isolate due to flu/cold symptoms, but who haven’t knowingly come into direct contact with COVID-19 in the workplace.

CUPE calls on the government to extend the 14 days paid leave to all workers being asked by their employers to self-isolate, regardless of contact with COVID-19.

“Workers who are sent home by their employers should be covered”.

Two-thirds of health care support workers say Manitoba government isn’t doing enough to keep them safe at work, according to CUPE member survey

Straw poll of 1,900 Manitoba health care support workers offers stark insight into experiences of front-line health care workers during COVID-19.

WINNIPEG – Manitoba health care support workers are not getting enough training, personal protective equipment (PPE), or support from the government, according to a new membership survey conducted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“Manitoba health care workers are telling us that they need more support from the government and the health authorities,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE’s Health Care Coordinator.

Of the 1,877 health care support workers who responded to the survey, 58 per cent indicated they feel they have not been provided with enough personal protective equipment to keep themselves and the people they care for safe.

The response from home care workers are even starker, where 77 per cent of respondents reported a lack of PPE.
53 per cent of health care support worker respondents reported receiving insufficient COVID-19 training to keep themselves and the people they care for safe.

68 per cent of survey respondents from home care reported insufficient training.

“During a pandemic we need every health care worker to have the training, personal protective equipment, and supports they require to get the job done. If health care workers feel that they aren’t being supported, then the entire system suffers,” said McAteer.

63 per cent of health care support workers responding feel the government is not doing enough to keep health care workers safe.

“It worries us that the confidence in government is so low among so many health care support staff,” said McAteer. “Nearly two-thirds of health care support workers who answered our survey felt the government hasn’t been doing enough to keep them safe. We hope the government takes note of this, and acts to support front-line support workers.”

This survey was a “straw poll” designed to get basic responses from Manitoba health care support workers about their experiences to-date during COVID-19. Some respondents did not complete the entire survey, and the poll captures a moment in time in an ever-evolving pandemic.


Information and Training from Employers about COVID-19

  • 56% of health care support workers responding indicated they feel they have enough information
    on the Employer’s COVID-19 plan to keep themselves, and patients safe.
    In home care, only 42% reported having enough information from Employers.
  • 58% of health care support workers reported receiving regular updates from their Employer on
    their workplace’s COVID-19 plan.
    In home care, only 43% reported receiving regular updates from their Employer about their
    workplace plan for COVD-19.
  • 53% of health care support worker respondents reported receiving insufficient
    COVID-19 training to keep themselves and the people they care for safe.
  • 68% of survey respondents from home care reported insufficient training.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Only 41% of respondents indicated they feel they’ve been provided with enough personal
    protective equipment to keep themselves and the people they care for safe.
  • The responses from home care workers are even starker, where 77% of respondents reported a
    lack of PPE.

Government Response

  • 63% of health care support workers responding feel the government is not doing enough to keep
    health care workers safe.
  • 51% of health care support workers responded they feel the government is doing enough to keep patients/residents/clients safe.

Stress Levels of Health Care Workers

  • 65% of health care workers responding indicated they are suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, or insomnia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abe Araya Elected as President of CUPE Manitoba

BRANDON – Delegates at the 2019 CUPE Manitoba Convention in Brandon elected Abe Araya as President of the province’s largest union. Abe Araya comes from CUPE Local 110, representing custodians, maintenance, and painters at the Winnipeg School Division.

“Our union is focused on fighting back against cuts to health care, education, social services, and privatization,” said Araya. “Despite Brian Pallister’s attempts to divide working people, we will be uniting workers from across Manitoba to put a stop to Pallister’s austerity agenda.”

Delegates at convention voted in support resolutions, ranging from health and safety in the workplace, anti-oppression training for activists, pushing back against privatization, fighting against health care and education cuts, and supporting the Green New Deal.

“CUPE is an incredibly diverse union,” said Araya. “With the strength of Manitoba’s largest union, we will be on the front line defending public health care and education, public Hydro, and fighting for properly funded childcare and social services for all Manitobans.”

CUPE’s annual convention featured guest speakers, including NDP leader Wab Kinew, NDP Critic for Infrastructure and Municipal Affairs Matt Wiebe, NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre Leah Gazan, Winnipeg School Division Trustee Yijie Chen, and Manitoba Health Coalition Director Breanne Goertzen.

CUPE National President Mark Hancock and CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury spoke to delegates, committing the full strength of CUPE’s 700,000 members to fight against cuts and privatization.

Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck provided updates on labour’s united front against Bill 28 (The Public Services Sustainability Act) and committed to fight against the Pallister government’s unconstitutional wage freeze.

Two hundred people rallied outside Brandon City Hall with CUPE Local 69 on Wednesday evening, voicing concern over the contracting out of work at the Wheat City Golf Course.

Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Local 500 served as interim CUPE Manitoba President throughout 2019. Delbridge continues to serve as Vice-President of CUPE Manitoba. Barb Gribben of CUPE Local 737 was this year’s recipient of the prestigious Jack Rodie Award, recognizing dedication and activism in the union.

“Our union is stronger, and more united than ever,” said Araya. “Manitobans can count on CUPE to defend good jobs, and fight for our public services.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 700,000 members.  In Manitoba, CUPE represents over 36,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.

Manitoba government offers responsible, visionary plan: CUPE

WINNIPEG – Manitoba’s NDP government has once again offered the province a progressive vision for the upcoming year in its annual speech from the throne, in what CUPE Manitoba is calling “a responsible and visionary plan.”

“The Manitoba government has offered an incredibly progressive plan that reflects the needs of a great cross-section of Manitobans” said Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba, “offering paid leave for victims of domestic violence, ensuring support for new refugees, confirming funding for Shoal Lake’s freedom road – this is the whole package.”

This year’s Throne Speech reflects the nation-wide calls for action on numerous key issues, both domestic and international, positioning Manitoba as a clear leader on social justice and progressive economic growth.

“After over a decade of steady growth and pragmatic stewardship over the economy, this government is well poised to tackle some pretty big issues” said Moist, “Manitobans expect a government that is both responsible and visionary, and that’s what today’s Throne Speech offers.”

Highlights of the Throne Speech include extending paid leave to victims of domestic violence, support for Syrian and other refugees, a renewed call for a  national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women, a renewed commitment to building the Shoal Lake 40 freedom road, investments in infrastructure and rapid transit, stable funding for colleges and universities, and a commitment to building 12,000 affordable childcare spaces.

The Throne Speech further commits to protecting Manitoba’s crown corporations against privatization.

“While other provinces are recklessly privatizing their key assets, Manitoba’s NDP government has pledged to protect our important institutions” said Moist, “all we need to do is look to our east or west to see what Liberal and Conservative governments have to offer, and it’s not pretty.”

Additionally the Throne Speech continues the government’s steady funding towards health care, education, infrastructure, and improving long-term care, all of which affect the work that CUPE members perform daily

“As the union that represents workers in communities and workplaces across Manitoba, we are excited to work with this government as it turns its vision into reality,” said Moist, “today’s Throne Speech is a great launching point for a new, progressive plan for our province.”

National Day of Mourning – April 28, 2015


Since the 1980s, Canada’s labour movement has observed every April 28 as the Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job. In 1990, Canada’s Parliament officially recognized the National Day of Mourning, and since then the tradition has spread to more than 100 countries.

The Day of Mourning is a day to honour the memory of those workers who have died, and to stand up for safe and healthy jobs.

Every year, the MFL and Labour Councils across Manitoba organize Day of Mourning events.

Please join us for a candlelight memorial service to remember these workers and to reaffirm our resolve to work for safe and healthy workplaces.

A reception with refreshments will take place before the service at 10:45 AM.

For more information, contact Tara Peel (204-953-2563)

  • Visit for more Day of Mourning events in Manitoba

CUPE proud to support Manitoba Government’s commitment to workplace health and safety.

Winnipeg – Today, as part of the April 28th Day of Mourning events happening across Canada, the Manitoba Government announced its action plan to prevent injury and illness in the workplace.

“CUPE is proud that Manitoba’s NDP government is taking strong legislative action to support workplace health and safety in Manitoba” expresses Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba, “It is poignant that this announcement comes on a day when the labour movement is remembering our colleagues who died or were injured on the job”.

The provincial announcement includes the doubling of funding for prevention services, and the creation of new requirements under the Workplace Safety and Health Act that more clearly define workers’ legal rights, as well as requiring mandatory orientation of new workers, and providing stronger protection when a worker refuses unsafe work.

“CUPE members are on the front line providing services to the community each and every day” states Moist, “we are reassured that the government’s pledge to increase public awareness, provide resources for training, and taking every workplace death seriously means that our community will see fewer workplace injuries”.

The provincial 5-year plan was announced during the annual Day of Mourning Leaders’ Walk that brought hundreds of workers and young people to the steps of the Manitoba Legislature, looking for action on the part of government.

“Manitoba is fast becoming a national leader on workplace health and safety” states Moist, “and because of the work of unions, we are seeing serious improvements and commitments from our government”.

The new plan also includes increasing the enforcement of rules to prevent bullying and violence in the workplace, and reviewing every workplace death to learn lessons about prevention.