CANADA’S unions on Wednesday welcomed the policy direction the government laid out in the Speech from the Throne, with a focus on investing in job creation and social programs that will support those most impacted by the pandemic.
“The government is making it clear that it is listening to the concerns of workers and their families by recognizing that investments are the only way to get us through this pandemic. We only have to look at the United States to understand how critical it is for us to keep working together towards a full recovery,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff.
The Speech from the Throne made specific commitments towards creating:
- 1 million new jobs, including investments in infrastructure, public transit, energy efficient retrofits, clean energy, affordable housing, and domestic production of Personal Protective Equipment;
- Accelerating implementation of a universal national pharmacare program;
- An early learning and child care system;
- Working with the provinces and territories to set new, national standards for long-term care;
- Task force to address the specific impacts on women;
- Strengthened Employment Insurance and the introduction of the Canada Recovery Benefit;
- Supports for hardest-hit industries including travel, tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts;
- Immediate training to quickly skill up workers; and
- A new Canadian Disability Benefit.
“It’s time to roll up our sleeves. We’re going to have to keep working closely with the government to ensure that they get the details on these programs and initiatives right. The provinces are going to have to step up and work with the federal government to make pharmacare a reality,” said Yussuff. “No doubt, there will be those calling for austerity even as people are vulnerable and need our governments to step up most. The federal government must stay the course and invest in people.”
“Long-standing systemic racism has meant that this pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on racialized and Indigenous communities. We welcome efforts to address inequality and look forward to advocating for all workers.”