Canada’s unions welcome progress for seniors, students and First Nations children in fall economic update

December 14, 2021

Bruske: Canada’s unions happy to see support but disappointed unemployed workers and their families left behind

OTTAWA – Canada’s unions welcomed today’s commitments to help low-income seniors and students hurting from their pandemic benefits being clawed back and support long-overdue compensation for children who suffered under Canada’s First Nations child welfare system. But the Canadian Labour Congress added unions were disappointed at the lack of help for the unemployed workers left behind after the cancellation of emergency supports.

“An Economic and Fiscal Update is more than an accounting exercise – it is a statement of our values. We appreciate the government listened and are helping low-income seniors and students,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “We strongly support compensation for First Nation’s children harmed by systemic discrimination and this long-overdue overhaul of Canada’s child welfare system.”

With rising COVID cases and so many families still hurting, Bruske added there’s a lot more work to do.

“This government has repeatedly said they would have our backs,” said Bruske. “Workers are looking to the government to make good on this promise and be there to help so many families now being left behind. We urge parties to come together in the final days before Parliament’s winter break to get help to people cut off after emergency benefits were cancelled.”

Bruske added that while it was good to hear the government acknowledge how rising prices are affecting workers and their families, Canada’s unions are looking for additional concrete measures that invest in repairing our broken social safety net and making life more affordable.

“Child care agreements were an important step. But with so many families still struggling, we were disappointed not to hear more today about fixing EI or bringing down the high cost of medicine through pharmacare,” said Bruske. “Workers are telling us the crisis is not over for them. It is critical that the government invest in people and reject the austerity agenda and spending cuts being pushed by right-wing economists and columnists.”

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