Image: Gig Workers! Frustrated? Underpaid?

Toronto & Area Couriers Survey

Are you working on one of the apps, delivering food, groceries or other goods? We want to hear from you! Gig delivery workers have come together to create this survey to establish contact with each other and understand issues that affect our peers around Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe. We commit to never share any personal information about you of any kind to anyone not affiliated with CUPW.

After completing this survey you'll be automatically entered into a draw for one of several $50 Grocery cards or $25 Canadian Tire gift cards. We would love for you to share this survey with others. For every 5 people that you can get to complete the survey you get another entry into the draw. All they need to do is provide your email when prompted.


What do gig delivery workers need to stay safe while working in the 2nd wave?

Gig Workers - COVID Demands

As we head into a 2nd wave of the COVID pandemic in Toronto and Canada, couriers have once again been labeled as essential workers. We’re delivering food, over the counter medicines and groceries, risking our health and safety with only meagre protections. This pandemic has been hard on all of us: we are struggling to get by, and struggling to access benefits when there has been no work, or when we get sick.

We are issuing a set of DEMANDS to our employers and a CALL FOR SOLIDARITY to customers, the public and allies.

Demands to Our Employers

To Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes, Facedrive, Amazon Flex, Instacart, Cornershop and beyond, as the workers doing the delivery work for your apps, we demand the following for our health and safety:

  1. Access to washrooms and handwashing: There is no guaranteed access to washrooms at the restaurants where we are picking up food and, as we all know, there are very few safe public washrooms open. If you want us to deliver for you, we need guaranteed access to washrooms. Couriers deserve that dignity. Additionally, as we head into the winter, a brief reprieve from the cold where it is safe to do so is crucial Washrooms also provide us with the ability to wash our hands and ensure that we are providing safe service; this is essential to our safety and that of our community.

  2. Protective equipment: Couriers have self organized distribution of cloth masks because employers have failed to adequately provide PPE. We demand that employers step up and provide quality masks in adequate quantities. Protective equipment for all couriers is a right.

  3. No-contact drop offs: Companies still have not implemented consistent safety protocols on no-contact delivery for workers, especially in condos. It is still only upon the customer’s request, or according to whatever arbitrary guidelines that a particular condo has in place. Workers must have control over our own health and safety. Customers requesting in person delivery without wearing masks is unacceptable. Unpaid time spent in tightly-packed elevators in condos can also be stressful - due to the danger -  and effects our earnings 

  4. Respect the right to refuse unsafe work: No punishment for refusing an order that a worker feels is unsafe. Couriers must have the right to refuse entry of lobbies or elevators where safe social distancing is not possible without the threat of termination. Respect that workers have the right to health and safety. Period. 

  5. Guaranteed return to work if you fall ill and/or need to go on CRB: After recovering from illness, every gig worker should have access to a seamless return to work. 

  6. Paid sick time: As gig workers, we do not have paid sick time which results in workers feeling financially pressured to work when we shouldn’t. A system to compensate workers who stay home when they have any cold or flu symptoms should be introduced.  

  7. Hazard pay: We have been deemed essential workers. We are in the streets  delivering food in the midst of a growing 2nd wave of the global pandemic. We demand access to decent hazard pay. No courier should be risking their health for less than a living wage.

  8. The establishment of a Gig Worker Joint Health and Safety Committee: Workers who are putting themselves on the line right now deserve, at the very least, a say on company health and safety standards with all the companies we work for. We demand a seat at the table to ensure these standards reflect the reality of our work, risks, and needs. 

  9. Update the tipping system, encourage tipping: Apps have worked to support local businesses by offering free or reduced delivery fees to customers who make purchases at local businesses. Couriers are entitled to support as we perform the essential services of shopping and delivery. Reduced wages, unpaid wait times, and reliance on low tips is not adequate support for essential workers risking their lives and those of their loved ones.

  10. Hiring and firing freeze: You cannot simply hire more precarious workers to replace those who are refusing unsafe work, or are too sick to work. There should also be a freeze on any dismissal or firing. 

Call For Solidarity

Do you order-in food? Please do so safely, and think about both the restaurants and the workers delivering your food.

Here’s how you can do that: 

  • Request No-Contact Delivery
  • Meet your courier in the lobby of your building or condo so they can avoid taking elevators and reduce their risk   
  • Always wear a mask when you are meeting a courier 
  • Tip often and tip well: your courier relies on it
  • Be ready for your courier’s arrival to reduce their time spent outside waiting
  • If you live in a detached home, ensure couriers have access to a clear and well lit path to the place where you want your order left  
  • Give kind ratings to your courier 
  • Encourage friends and family to refer to this list
  • Support the worker’s health and safety demands: write a note in your order to the company that you want to see them meet these standards for couriers!

Click Here to Find Out How You Can Support Foodsters through COVID-19

CUPW Urges Removal of CERB Access Barriers for Gig-Economy Workers


COVID-19 Information for Foodsters

Cover Image for A Courier's Guide to COVID-19

April 17, 2020

Fellow foodsters, 

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is changing by the week and we are trying to put out up-to-date information for you all. Vital health and safety measures are also being fought for those who are working - please read below. 

CERB: This week the government announced a ‘relaxing of criteria’ for CERB for those who are gig workers, contract workers or part time workers. These changes, while not ideal, have come about because of the combined efforts of union and worker solidarity. We have continued to organize and push the government to include us by providing the support we need as precarious workers. 

What the government announced this week was: 

  • Ability to apply if you earn $1000 a month or less (and here Trudeau specifically referenced gig workers and contract workers);
  • Ability to apply if you would normally rely on seasonal work and have run out of Employment Insurance (EI);.
  • They will not “unjustly penalize” workers who apply in good faith and are later found to be ineligible.

They also announced a wage boost for essential workers who are earning less than $2500 a month but the details of this are still unclear and we will let you know as soon as we find out more. 

See the full government announcement here:

And the government FAQ here:

Courier Resource Document: 

Our thoughts as Foodsters United  

Making CERB available to those who are still working and earning less than $1000 a month is a start but it’s not enough! 

  • A person working multiple jobs needs to have a huge loss of income to be eligible. The problem is that ANY loss of income is an issue! 
  • The maximum compensation  will still be $2000 a month (and remember, is taxable income!) which is hardly enough for someone to support themselves let alone a family in the Greater Toronto Area. It is below minimum wage. 
  • CERB must be made accessible for ANY loss of work or reduction of any hours, regardless of immigration status.
  • PM Trudeau must recognize that many workers and too many in society more broadly were struggling/living in poverty or barely above the poverty line before the pandemic hit and take actions that reflect that. The CERB and the newest additions do not reflect this. 

Seasonal Work 

  • Though a lot of gig workers end up working seasonally, the government has put the condition that it is for people who would normally be on EI until their seasonal work begins (such as forestry workers).

Top-up for Essential Workers

  • This will be in the form of a ‘cost-share transfer’ to the Provinces and Territories therefore putting the responsibility on Ontario.
  • The Ontario Government has so far determined food delivery workers to be essential, but it is not clear if they will see gig workers as essential for the top-up.

No measures for undocumented workers 

  • There are still restrictions and no clear support for people who are undocumented or without an active Social Inusrance Number (SIN)!
  • The government needs to lift the SIN requirement and ensure access to benefits to all workers who need it immediately.

Short-sighted emphasis that one cannot 'voluntarily quit their job'

  • The government fails to take into account that many gig and precarious workers are working under unsafe conditions and the right to refuse unsafe work is not universally respected by employers.
  • A worker who has made the hard decision to keep themself safe and quit because work felt unsafe must be respected and supported. 

The changes this week are still not enough - the government can and must lift the overly restrictive criteria and ensure no one is left behind.

Call to Action

Last week we organized quickly to pressure the government to make the changes to CERB that gig workers need. We need to keep up the pressure now more than ever to ensure no one is left behind! 

Contact your MP today to demand removal of barriers to CERB for all precarious workers:

Health and Safety while working: What is Foodora doing to keep workers safe?

The union has sent several letters to Foodora on the issue of health and safety, asking them to come to the table to discuss the health and safety of workers. They have refused to even respond. 

We need to collectively continue to fight for:

  • Protective equipment
  • Company enforced guidelines and safety protocol for couriers for contact-less pick up and drop offs
  • Respect the right to refuse: No punishment for refusing an order that you think is unsafe
  • Guaranteed return to work if you fall ill and/or need to go on CERB
  • Access to bathrooms and handwashing at restaurants 

Couriers have self organized distribution of cloth masks because the company still fails to provide it let alone reply to the request from workers

The company still has not implemented safety protocols on no-contact delivery for workers especially in condos. It is still all upon the customers request or whatever that particular condo has in place.

Foodora is prioritizing customers needs before workers safety - they are required by law to institute basic provisions under occupational health and safety, but are failing to do so. 

Our health and safety is essential, not just our labour.

Foodster riding down a street on a bike

Who are Foodsters?

Foodsters are Foodora’s workforce. On bikes, cars, electric scooters, and at least one electric unicycle, we deliver food from restaurants to homes and offices. You may recognize our distinctive pink backpacks. We use an app to accept orders and pick up shifts. We are paid between $4.50-$7.50 an order. We are not paid when we don’t get orders. Foodora is basically our boss, but claims we’re “independent contractors” in order to avoid paying benefits, offering sick days, or offering raises.

Foodster sitting in a car with door open

What’s it like to be a Foodster?

Our work is fast-paced and dangerous. We often have to choose between safety and speed to deliver as many orders as possible just to make ends meet. We work outdoors in wind, in rain, and in -25 with blowing snow. For those of us on bikes, a car door might open at any minute. Cars or bikes could be hit by a careless driver leaving us unable to work. Despite our high injury rates we have no paid sick days and often have to work when injured.

Foodster riding a bike near a building

What are we trying to achieve?

Justice for Foodora Couriers is a drive to unionize Foodora couriers to improve conditions. We are challenging the paradigm of precarious work. Companies like foodora strip labour protections from workers under the guise of “innovation,” by calling us “independent contractors.” But we can work together to assert our rights. United, we can win fair pay for our dangerous work, the ability to recover when sick or injured, and a respectful workplace free from harassment and intimidation.

What couriers want from foodora is simple and achievable:

  • Respect: respect as workers, including our right to unionize
  • Health and Safety: better protections for our safety and support when we get injured
  • Fair compensation: to be paid fairly for the difficult and sometimes dangerous work that we do
Close up of a Foodster worker carrying a bike

How you can help

  1. Get to know the issues that couriers face, and what we are fighting for! Couriers want respect; health and safety; fair pay from Foodora.
  2. Tell Foodora that you support the couriers at, tweet using #justice4couriers and #FoodstersUnited
  3. Show your love for couriers, participate in our Order-In Days, and put up a window sign to show your support for Justice for Couriers. Click here to download a window sign
  4. Join the campaign!
  5. Spread the word! Distribute Justice for Couriers brochures, Invite Justice for Couriers to speak at an upcoming event, or write a letter to the editor of a newspaper