THE provincial budget shows the government recognizes the central role of working people in rebuilding our economy as we emerge from a time of crisis and uncertainty, the leaders of the BC Federation of Labour said on Tuesday.
“The last budget showed us the values of the government in getting us through the pandemic,” BCFED President Laird Cronk said. “With this budget, we’re beginning to see the values underlying the rebuilding and recovery.”
Cronk said unions want to see the government’s investments backed by strong measures to protect workers and build a fairer, more inclusive economy around principles of equity and reconciliation.
“It’s good to see strong leadership on training,” BCFED Secretary-Treasurer Sussanne Skidmore said. “These investments will help ensure our economy provides a well-trained workforce ready for rewarding careers in good, community-supporting jobs.”
She also applauded the government’s continued commitment to expanding affordable childcare throughout BC. “Ensuring access to quality care in your community means parents can make the most of education, training and new employment opportunities.”
However, Cronk said, creating new employment and training opportunities is only part of the work of ensuring good jobs. “The other part is ensuring workers are protected by robust, timely and proactively-enforced employment standards,” he said.
“The province moved very quickly to support businesses during COVID. I’d like to see them act just as urgently to resolve backlogs and address the widespread denial of employment protections through misclassifying employees as contractors.”
Skidmore welcomed the budget’s progress to move BC to a clean economy, but cautioned, “Success requires ensuring workers and communities aren’t left behind. We’ll be watching for a clear plan to ensure the transition works for all.”
“British Columbia workers have been through one of the toughest, most challenging times in this province’s history, and their labour is getting us through this pandemic,” Cronk said. “This budget is a good step in recognizing the central role of workers, and investing in their success.”