O'Toole promises 'compassionate' reforms on EI benefits, bereavement laws

The Conservative leader made a string of promises to workers

O'Toole promises 'compassionate' reforms on EI benefits, bereavement laws

This weekend, Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole announced his plan to introduce more "compassionate reforms" on employment insurance (EI) benefits and parental bereavement laws ahead of the September 20 federal elections. O'Toole said that he would extend the EI parental leave benefits and the number of paid sick leave days in cases of a child's death or stillbirth.

O'Toole said this could help break the stigma on around discussing miscarriages in the workplace, giving grieving parents the support they need. The Conservative leader's latest string of promises adds to his growing pledges to give workers more benefits should he becomes the next Canadian Prime Minister. Last week, O'Toole promised workers that he would double the Canada Workers Benefit by up to $2,800 for individuals or $5,000 for families. He will also increase the disability supplement to $1,500. 

Read more: Snap election: What does it mean for Canadian employers?

Despite his promises, however, some remain sceptical over a potential Conservative leadership, with Canada's largest private sector union calling the party's promises a "Conservative con-job." Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, said the party has spent decades trying to dismantle unions rights and punish labour organisations.

"After spending years building a political brand attacking unions and union members, all of a sudden, O’Toole and the Conservatives love us, and desperately want our vote," Dias said in a column published in the Toronto Sun.

He said the Conservatives "do not have what it takes to advance union rights in the country."

"They are promising better unemployment benefits, but only when our economy is in crisis. They are pretending that expanding publicly funded tax credits is the same as giving workers a pay increase," he said.

Dias said union members are not easily duped by false promises – adding that “They know a Conservative con-job when they see one."

Canada's federal election is set on September 20, but advanced voting began on Friday and will end on Monday evening.

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