Portrait of a happy construction worker at a building site
Workplace Health and Safety

Canada’s unions mark May Day by calling on governments to prioritize workers and their families

May 1, 2021

Canada’s unions are marking May Day by urging the federal government to act quickly to implement its most recent budget promises, which include significant investments in child care, job creation and skills training.

May Day is an annual celebration held every May 1st during which workers from around the world celebrate the achievements made by trade unions. This year, the pandemic remains a focal point for the concerns of workers and their families.

“Millions of workers around the world have lost their jobs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). “Here in Canada, the federal government recently promised significant investments to help with our recovery. Canada’s political leaders must now work together to pass the budget implementation bill and turn these promises into action.”

The government’s recently announced investments in child care, training and skills development and a $15 federal minimum wage, in addition to a further expansion of emergency benefits would bring much needed relief to workers and their families.

Workers in Canada – and around the world – continue to struggle under the weight of the year-long pandemic. Developed countries have a responsibility to ensure that all workers in developing and under developing nations have access to vaccines to help put an end to this global health crisis.

In the meantime, gaps in the social safety net, both at home and abroad, have become painfully clear. Those gaps include a shameful lack of paid sick leave in most provinces.

“Workers and advocates have been calling for paid sick leave since before the pandemic,” said Yussuff.

“However, COVID-19 has highlighted just how dangerous a lack of paid sick time can be. Being able to stay home when you are sick is fundamental to reducing workplace exposures and illness. Essential workers being forced to choose between going to work sick and putting food on the table puts us all at risk and is prolonging and deepening the impacts of the pandemic. Provincial and territorial governments must act immediately.”

Canada’s unions further remind all levels of government to respect and uphold the collective bargaining rights of workers, even during times of crisis.

“Upholding workers’ rights is integral to the functioning of a free and fair democracy in which there is a counterweight to the unfettered power of employers and monied interests. Collective bargaining ensures a more fair, equitable present and future for all.”

To learn more about what unions are calling for, visit canadianplan.ca.

  • Social Justice and Democracy
  • Reduce interest rates and offer relief to Canadian families – ball is in your court, Governor Macklem

    May 21, 2024
    Click to open the link
  • Workplace Health and Safety
  • 20 years after its passing, Canada’s unions demand enforcement of the Westray Law 

    May 9, 2024
    Click to open the link
  • Social Justice and Democracy
  • Unified labour front: Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union joins Canadian Labour Congress

    May 8, 2024
    Click to open the link
  • Social Justice and Democracy
  • NEW POLL: CANADIANS BACK UNIONS TO DELIVER WORKER PROTECTIONS, FAIRER WAGES

    May 1, 2024
    Click to open the link
  • Workplace Health and Safety
  • Canada’s unions call for ‘Safe work now!’

    April 26, 2024
    Click to open the link
  • Trade and International Affairs
  • 11 years after the Rana Plaza factory collapse, Canada’s unions honour victims and continue demands to improve conditions for workers

    April 23, 2024
    Click to open the link
  • Social Justice and Democracy
  • Canada’s unions are united: Want our votes? Enhance our rights!

    April 18, 2024
    Click to open the link
  • Jobs, Economy and Environment
  • Touchdown! CFLPA joins Canadian Labour Congress

    April 18, 2024
    Click to open the link