Bank of Canada and Governments Must Put Well-Being of Workers and Families First

September 6, 2023

OTTAWA–Canada’s unions welcome today’s Bank of Canada decision not to raise rates further but warned that with so many struggling to get by the Bank must signal an end to rate hikes while governments must act to help families being left behind.

“We learned last week that our economy is contracting. Statistics Canada reported that our economy went into the negative in quarter two, just like many Canadian’s bank accounts.   Families are being pushed to the brink and more and more workers are living pay cheque to pay cheque, worried about losing their jobs. After 10 rate hikes, today’s decision means the Bank didn’t make an already horrible situation worse,” warned Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “As families face huge jumps in mortgage costs and ballooning payments for loans and lines of credit, we urge Governor Macklem to put the well-being of people at the heart of Canada’s monetary policy and signal an end to rate hikes.”

Bruske explained that the Bank of Canada’s mandate was changed in December 2021 to give it leeway to consider the impact on people and jobs, yet the Bank has been narrowly focused only on inflation and not enough on everyday people.

“The Bank’s stubborn focus on raising rates and driving up mortgage rates are not only hurting so many renters and homeowners, they’re also now the biggest force pushing up inflation,” said Bruske. “The Bank has the leeway to look at the impact on people, so why haven’t we seen this? The Bank must stop trying to use yesterday’s monetary policy solutions to solve today’s challenges.”

Bruske added that while the government doesn’t set interest rates, they do have a responsibility to help struggling families.

“We hear from so many workers and families unable to make their rent or pay for groceries. But interest rates are just one part of the problem. There’s a lot more government can do to help those struggling the most,” said Bruske. “When Parliament resumes in two weeks, we’ll be looking for all parties to come together behind urgent action to build more affordable housing, create good sustainable union jobs, and implement publicly delivered pharmacare.”

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