Hidden in Conservative platform: An attack on public pensions and EI

August 19, 2021

Conservatives would relegate gig workers to second-class citizens in Canada’s workforce

OTTAWA – Hidden in Erin O’Toole’s Conservative policy platform is a kick in the teeth for the retirement and job security of gig workers.

“Conservatives have a policy plan that includes a blatant attack on public pensions. They would permanently relegate gig workers to second-class status in Canada’s workforce,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

The Conservative platform proposes a new private retirement and wage-loss scheme for gig workers that would replace the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) program. It’s called the portable Employee Savings Account, and it forces workers to depend on a private fund at the mercy of bank fees and subject to unpredictable stock markets.

“The Conservatives’ plan denies over a million gig economy workers access to not only the protections of basic labour standards, but to the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance as well,” said Bruske. “These workers kept Canada going during the darkest days of the pandemic, yet Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives would deny them retirement security, EI benefits and even basic legal protections. That is reprehensible.”

The policy, as outlined in the Conservative election platform, would exclude gig economy workers from vital social programs that provide employees cost-effective retirement and unemployment benefits and force them into a riskier private plan.

“If Erin O’Toole forms government he would create two tiers of Canadian workers. One with basic workplace protections and hard-fought benefits, built by generations of Canadians – the other left to the whims of the market,” said Bruske. “Mr. O’Toole has made quite a show of claiming he is pro-union and pro-worker, but his platform amounts to a hypocritical attack on workers,” concluded Bruske.

“Canada’s unions will fight this unfair scheme and stand up for gig economy workers.”

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To arrange an interview, please contact:
CLC Media Relations
media@clcctc.ca
613-355-1962

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