Statement by MFL President Kevin Rebeck on the Progressive Conservative Caucus’ decision to delay legislation that will help working people

April 17, 2024

We are disgusted that every Progressive Conservative MLA has decided to hold up Bill 9: The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act, a bill that will ensure that sick and vulnerable workers have the job-protected leave required to access the federal EI sickness benefits that were expanded from 17 weeks to 27 weeks in 2022. Because of these PC delay tactics, it is possible that a worker could access the 27 week EI sickness benefits but still be terminated by their employer after their leave lasts more than 17 weeks.

The previous Minister of Labour, Jon Reyes, consulted with the Labour Management Review Committee on this topic in 2023 and received a unanimous recommendation to align the Manitoba Employment Standards Code with the expanded EI sickness benefits. Unfortunately, the previous PC government dragged its feet on these important legislative changes and they continue to delay things in opposition, at the expense of sick and vulnerable workers.

We are also concerned that the PC Caucus has chosen to hurt good, family supporting jobs for Manitobans by delaying Bill 7: The Public Sector Construction Projects (Repeal) Act. Manitoba is facing a skilled labour shortage, and politicians should be doing everything they can to help skilled trade workers build their careers here at home. Project Labour Agreements have a strong track record of delivering high quality infrastructure built by Manitobans on time and on budget.