City briefs

New U of W chancellor

The University of Winnipeg has appointed Barb Gamey, co-founder of Payworks and member of the Business Council of Manitoba, as its new chancellor. Gamey succeeds Bob Silver, who served in the role since 2009. As chancellor, Gamey is the titular and symbolic head of the university and grants degrees at convocations to graduating students.

Support for Manitoba tenants

The Manitoba Tenancy Branch and the Government of Manitoba are postponing all non-urgent eviction hearings until May 31 and freezing all rent increases due to take effect on or after April 1. Evictions will be only heard for cases that pose a risk to health or safety. These measures are to protect Manitobans facing financial uncertainty and hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wellness checks during pandemic

Aulneau Renewal Centre is offering both clients and non-clients wellness checks because of increased anxiety and mental health challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are not counselling sessions, but a counsellor will reach out to participants for well-being checks. This service can be accessed at 204-987-7090 or through aulneau.com.

UWSA’s response to COVID-19

The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association is shutting down all non-essential services, including office hours, upcoming events and the Food Bank. People accessing Food Bank services will now have to call Winnipeg Harvest. The UWSA office is still available through phone or email while the executive staff works remotely. Further, the UWSA will hold a “digital week of action” for their Divest campaign.

Employment insurance top-up during pandemic

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is calling on the province to “ask employers to keep workers on the payroll over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and, where that is not possible, to assist employers with an employment insurance top-up.” The proposed Supplementary Unemployment Benefit Plan would help top up employees’ EI benefits during a temporary layoff, where they can expect benefits approaching 100 per cent of their income.

Transit union calls for improvements

The Amalgamated Transit Union 1505 called on Winnipeg Transit to implement mandatory rear-door entrance and a fare-free policy immediately. This “would minimize potential contact between the operator and the riding public and allow social distancing upon boarding.” Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Regina, Ottawa, North Bay, Brandon and Victoria are among Canadian cities that have already implemented rear-door boarding measures.

Published in Volume 74, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 26, 2020)

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