Save Our Severance


As more and more Ontario workers lose their jobs, far too many are also experiencing the tragedy of being denied their severance and other monies owed to them by their employer.

Too many workers have had to take drastic action, whether through plant occupations or blockades, in an effort to secure their wages, severance and termination pay. As the current recession deepens, more workers will face bankrupt and insolvent businesses as well as more runaway employers.

The McGuinty government has acknowledged that more needs to be done to protect workers from failed employers, but has not committed to protect Ontario's most vulnerable workers.

The CAW is calling on the government to develop a provincial wage earner protection program, that is integrated with the existing federal initiative, applies to all severance and separation monies owed, provides significant additional protection on top of the federal program and applies to all insolvencies and 'run away' employers.

Demand action on severance protection now!

Send the following letter to Ontario Minister of Labour Peter Fonseca, Premier Dalton McGuinty and your local MPP (Note: for the letter to be sent to your MPP, you must include your postal code).

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The Message:

Dear Minister Fonseca,

Ontarians are facing one of the worst economic downturns in history. This has impacted workers in all sectors of the economy. Too many have already lost their jobs, with many more bad news stories on the horizon. Most concerning is that thousands of these laid-off workers are denied severance and other outstanding monies owed to them by their employers.

As the recession deepens more workers will become unemployed and more will face bankrupt and insolvent businesses as well as more runaway employers, trying to renege on their financial commitments. Too many workers have had to occupy their plants in order to receive outstanding wages, termination and severance pay – money that ought to be secure and available to them in all circumstances.

Premier McGuinty has acknowledged that more needs to be done to protect workers from failed employers and indicated that the province was waiting to assess recent federal initiatives and then “see what we can do working in concert with the federal government.”

So far, the Ontario government has not made any move to help protect Ontario's most vulnerable workers from being refused severance and other monies legally owed to them.

Minister Fonseca, I am writing to ask that you spearhead the development of Ontario’s own wage earner protection program that:

- Is integrated with the federal Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP);
- Applies to all separation monies;
- Provides significant additional protection on top of the federal program; and
- Applies to all insolvencies and ‘run away’ employers.

Ontario has a special responsibility for severance pay. Legislation in our province provides workers with an important legal entitlement to a critical income safety net, which means little for workers faced with an employer bankruptcy or abandonment.

I believe the Ontario government must provide a lifeline to unemployed workers during this critical time, and I ask you now to take a leadership role on this matter.


This message will be emailed to:
  • Peter Fonseca - Minister of Labour
  • cc: Dalton McGuinty - Premier of Ontario