As Parliament returns, people feel the pain from high prices, a slowing economy

September 14, 2023

OTTAWA–Squeezed family budgets, a worsening economy and preparing Canada for the global transition to a low-carbon economy must be at the top of MPs’ agenda when Parliament returns next week, according to Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

“Canada’s unions are looking to MPs from all parties to come together behind swift action to make sure help is there for people facing high prices, stretched budgets and a weakening economy,” urged Bruske. “Parliament must also act urgently on the dual challenges of addressing climate change while creating sustainable jobs.”

Bruske said Canada’s unions expect MPs to make it a top priority to strengthen the Sustainable Jobs Act, C-50, and get the bill passed before the winter break.

“The Americans’ Inflation Reduction Act has challenged the world to act, and many countries are responding. The Sustainable Jobs Act provides a roadmap for Canada’s governments, businesses, and unions to work together and make sure our workers aren’t left behind in the global transition to a low-carbon economy,” warned Bruske. “Climate change is real and getting worse. MPs must make it job one this fall to take smart action that creates the kind of good, sustainable, union jobs that are the cornerstone to building thriving communities.”

Bruske said that Parliament must also act to make things a bit easier for those struggling the most through urgent action to create more affordable homes, make sure EI is there for people when they need it, and pass a new pharmacare act so Canada can implement public, universal pharmacare.

“Building affordable homes and implementing publicly funded and publicly delivered pharmacare are tangible ways we can make sure no one is left with the impossible choice of choosing whether to pay for rent, groceries, or their kid’s medicine. MPs must deliver on pharmacare this fall,” declared Bruske. “3 in 5 unemployed people don’t even qualify for benefits. With unemployment rising and more people being thrown out of work, it’s critical we finally reform EI so help is there for workers when they need it.”

Bruske added that it is also critical the government introduces, and MPs pass, anti-scab legislation this fall.

“We have seen years of record corporate profits while workers’ pay lagged far behind. Workers are rightly demanding more balanced workplaces,” said Bruske. “If we ban the use of scabs once and for all, we can take a real step towards greater labour peace, avoiding work stoppages and building a more balanced economy.” 

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