You had questions, Kevin had answers! Read below to see what fellow Caesars Windsor employees wanted to know in this month’s Town Hall. As always, you can share your thoughts and submit questions via the convenient Ask Us Anything platform. It’s that simple to get the answers to what YOU need to know!

What income supports are available to employees?

Employees who have at least 420 hours of insurable employment in the qualifying period may be eligible for Employment Insurance. There is more information posted on the blog, including links and contact information for Service Canada.

Employees not eligible for EI, may be eligible for the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit.  It is best to refer to the Government of Canada website for more information about who can apply. Please visit the blog for further details.

While on layoff, do I keep my badge?

Yes, all employees will keep their badge, however, site access will be disabled.

When we reopen, how will I be recalled? Will I be recalled to the position I left? Will there be another bump?

The recall process, timing and other details will be posted on the blog once we have information about reopening. 

Will voluntary layoff be allowed?

No, we will not be allowing voluntary layoff. Layoffs will happen according to seniority.

How long do you think we will be forced to stay closed?

We know the earliest we can open is January 27 and at this point we don’t have any additional information on whether the closure will last longer.  However, the steps we are taking assume this is a circuit breaker and we will be reopening on January 27.

Do you think we will reopen with capacity limits of 50 people, or at 50% or will we reopen to 100%?

We have not heard from the province on any possible reopening restrictions. 

Will salaried employees be laid off after January 27 if we aren’t allowed to reopen?

We are working all available channels to keep our employees and business front and centre. We are staying focused on reopening and are hopeful to be on the other side of this wave by January 27. 

Why wasn’t everyone called back to work when we were allowed to open at 100% capacity?

Even when capacity wasn’t restricted, our guest numbers were approximately half of our pre-COVID volumes.  We increased employee numbers when guest demand increased, but those peaks weren’t consistent. The reality is getting back to pre-COVID volumes will depend on border rules lifting and shifting customer behaviour after two years of lockdowns. 

Will Caesars Windsor implement a mandatory vaccine policy?

While we have not mandated vaccines for employees at this point, we believe vaccinations are an important tool for our community, employees and guests to limit the spread of the virus.  We encourage employees to get their vaccination and have provided vaccination education resources on the blog. We also require employees to provide their vaccination status for certain types of sick calls or contact tracing reasons.

The health and safety of our employees and guests is a top priority. We have taken the approach to layer safety measures.  In addition to encouraging vaccinations, we have actively implemented controls such as the Daily Health Check, managing possible COVID related absences, and contact tracing. Our controls have been reviewed by several public health & safety organizations and must be frequently audited and reported on. 

Did minimum wage employees receive the increase this month?

The provincial minimum wage was increased to $15.00 per hour on January 1. For employees affected, the new rate of pay will appear on your paystub for the pay period ending January 22. Retroactive pay for hours worked from January 1 to January 8 will be reflective on this pay.

When will I get my Record of Employment (ROE)? What date do I enter on my EI claim as ‘last day worked’?

I understand many of you have questions related to your specific circumstances around layoff and applying for EI, etc. Please visit the blog as employee FAQs have been posted that answer these types of questions, or contact HR to discuss your individual situation by calling the hotline at 519-985-2859.

Will the hotel open when the casino opens?
If things open the way they were prior to the closure, yes.

Will we reopen on January 27 or do we need to wait for approval?

We did not choose to close, we were mandated to close. In order to reopen, we will need approval from the provincial government. You can find a summary of the current regulations at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures.

Can workers in the hotel get N95 masks when we return to work?

Our Health and Safety team has recommended N95 masks for certain positions which will be provided by the department.

How will the recall process happen this time around?

It will depend on the reopening restrictions. There are no precedents or rulebooks for this situation; however there is constant discussion between our Labour Relations department and Unifor. Information will be posted to the blog prior to recall.

How long will benefits be available?

They are currently available through to the end of the contract.

Why can’t the hotel be open?

Having the hotel open during our lockdown isn’t workable from a regulatory or operational front.  Also there would be very little demand and wouldn’t make sense financially.

Is there any news from the OLG on the bidding for our casino?

Nothing new at this time. There is a recognition that the pandemic and the closures might extend this process. As soon as I have more information, I will share it.

Is there any news on concerts?

As you know, December and January shows have been cancelled or postponed. We continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to you and our guests. We cannot operate The Colosseum anywhere close to efficiently, unless we are pretty close to full capacity.

Are there any updates on the new owner of the property?

We continue to be operated by Caesars and owned by OLG. While we are a couple of years off from any changes, if a new owner does come, everyone is guaranteed a job and benefits for at least a year.

Will food and drinks be allowed on the gaming floor when we reopen?

We will follow the Ontario regulations when we reopen. We have not received any details on reopening restrictions.

If we open at 50% or higher capacity, will everyone who was working, specifically Dealers, be recalled?

This is difficult to say at the moment; however there is a good likelihood our employee numbers would remain as they were prior to the closure.  

What is the status on single sports betting?

We continue to have discussions with OLG and AGCO. We are very fortunate to have one of, if not the best, sportsbook engines in our company with Caesars Sportsbook. This will help us have a very successful retail sportsbook here. We are working with OLG/AGCO to see what that looks like and the timing of it.

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Employee Q & A – January 12 Town Hall

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