OTTAWA – Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to focus on the country’s social safety net in its budget to be released Monday, prioritizing five key demands.
“The devastating effects of the pandemic were made worse by years of austerity by successive governments,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). “As a result of cuts, the social programs that would have helped sustain people were not in place. We cannot let that happen again.”
The CLC’s top five priorities for Budget 2021 include:
- A national, high-quality, public, accessible early learning and childcare system;
- Funding a national medicines formulary to establish a universal, national Pharmacare program;
- Green jobs and a Just Transition for workers;
- Improve working conditions and labour standards; and
- Fair tax reform.
“This government has promised to create one million jobs, and we need to focus on ensuring those are decent, sustainable jobs,” said Yussuff. “We also need to reform Employment Insurance so that it reflects the realities workers are facing today.”
Canada’s unions are further calling on the federal government to institute a $15 federal minimum wage and outline a plan to work with the provinces to enshrine paid sick leave across Canada.
The CLC also wants to see ambitious investments in skills training, literacy and apprenticeships, including targeted measures to help youth, women, equity-seeking groups and the long-term unemployed.
Job creation should also focus on expanding Just Transition measures, to help affected workers access training and support to transition to new jobs or retirement. For more details on what unions are asking for, read our pre-budget submission here and details on the top five priority demands here.
To arrange an interview, please contact:
CLC Media Relations