Better Pay and Benefits

As clock ticks down, Canada’s unions demand government chooses help for people

October 13, 2021

OTTAWA—Canada’s unions are urging the federal government to extend emergency benefits to help workers and their families still struggling through the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada’s recent Labour Force Survey showed that nearly one and a half million people are still looking for work and total hours worked still lag well below pre-pandemic levels.

“Behind the headlines, the recent Labour Force report revealed some troubling facts. Nearly 250,000 people have been out of work for a year or longer. Many have exhausted their EI claims and have nowhere else to turn,” warned Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “The end of the pandemic is in sight, but the recovery is still just beginning. Canada’s unions have been demanding a recovery with workers at the centre, and that starts with extending these vital benefits.”

Despite 750,000 people still relying on the help, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is set to expire on October 23, 2021.

“It’s no surprise the conservative media and some businesses are demanding an end to emergency benefits – even while they are still asking for government handouts for themselves,” said Bruske. “What is shocking is that the government might declare ‘mission accomplished’ and end this vital lifeline for hundreds of thousands of jobless and vulnerable workers. If the government abandons these workers now, many will struggle for years to come.”

Bruske added that after CRB emergency help is extended, Parliament must get back to work on the other critical elements of a worker-centred recovery. This includes raising the minimum wage; enacting fair scheduling laws; increasing and permanently fixing EI and paid sick leave; extending employment standards to gig economy workers; outlawing pay discrimination against part-time employees; and strengthening workers’ voices by providing a path to unionization.

“Canada’s unions will engage our new Parliament and demand MPs choose an economy that is more equitable, more inclusive, more sustainable, and where lost jobs are replaced with better ones,” concluded Bruske.

-30-

To arrange an interview, please contact:
CLC Media Relations
media@clcctc.ca
613-526-7426

  • Forward Together
  • Statement from Bea Bruske on the death of Alexa McDonough

    January 15, 2022
    Click to open the link
  • Better Pay and Benefits
  • Statement of the CLC and provincial and territorial federations of labour in response to the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee Report

    December 20, 2021
    Click to open the link
  • Jobs, Economy and Environment
  • Canada’s unions calling for greater protections and supports for migrant workers

    December 17, 2021
    Click to open the link
  • Better Pay and Benefits
  • Canada’s unions welcome progress for seniors, students and First Nations children in fall economic update

    December 14, 2021
    Click to open the link
  • Ending Discrimination
  • Human Rights Day: Canada must ratify C-189 to protect vulnerable domestic workers

    December 10, 2021
    Click to open the link
  • Gender Equality
  • Canada’s unions: Use fiscal update to reverse seniors’ clawbacks and emergency help for workers

    December 9, 2021
    Click to open the link
  • Jobs, Economy and Environment
  • Rank and file union members engage MPs with powerful stories about the need to end seniors’ clawbacks

    December 3, 2021
    Click to open the link