Next federal government must deliver for workers

September 18, 2021

Pandemic recovery must be built on investments that improve the lives of all Canadians

Canada may very well be headed for another minority government and Canada’s unions want the new federal government elected on Monday to hit the ground running and deliver on promises made over the course of election campaign.

Elected officials from all stripes must commit to working together to move these priorities forward.

“Workers in Canada were targeted by all parties in this campaign, in a way we’ve never seen before. And now it’s time to deliver. Canada’s unions are eager to work with the next federal government to shape a pandemic recovery that makes life better for all Canadians and doesn’t leave anyone behind,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Canada’s unions are urging the incoming government to finish implementing national, affordable public child care; implement universal pharmacare; enact fair tax reforms; permanently improve EI; and replace the existing first-past the post electoral system with mixed member proportional representation.

“Canadians have heard promises of universal pharmacare for many years now, without any real results. A universal, single-payer program would help reduce household expenses and allow everyone to access the medications they need,” said Bruske.

Canada’s unions have also long championed a national affordable child care system. And we’re getting closer: many provinces and territories have signed agreements with the federal government to provide $10 a day child care for children under the age of 6.

Tax fairness is another issue that must be addressed urgently. The top earners in Canada have accumulated even more wealth over the course of the pandemic while average working families are struggling to make ends meet.

“The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the existing inequality in Canada, and for many people, things have only gotten worse,” said Bruske. “We want to see concrete measures to reduce income inequality and help people get back to work in good jobs. And we want the government to commit to fixing our social safety net so that we’re ready the next time disaster hits.”

The pandemic highlighted the need for an adequate and accessible unemployment benefit system and all parties have agreed that Employment Insurance reform is needed. With temporary pandemic benefits set to expire at the end of this month, the incoming government will need to get to work addressing the gaps in the current EI system.

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