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.

Related Articles

Canada’s unions call for strengthened rights and protections for domestic workers

Canada’s unions are marking International Domestic Workers Day by calling on the federal government to increase access to services and protections for domestic workers and to ratify the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit domestic workers hard – as of June 2020, the ILO estimated that approximately 72.3% of global domestic…
Read More

Canada’s unions condemn hate-motivated terrorist attack against Canadian Muslim family; express concern over rising incidents of hate

Canada’s unions unequivocally condemn the recent escalation of hate crimes and violence against members of numerous racialized and religious minority communities across the country. The most recent and tragic hate-motivated attack occurred on Sunday in London, Ontario. A Muslim family out for an evening walk were plowed down by a lone driver which resulted in the murder of four family…
Read More

Canada’s unions mourn with Indigenous communities, call for action

Canada’s unions stand with Indigenous communities across Canada as they mourn the lives of 215 children whose remains were discovered at a burial site at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. “Our hearts are with residential school survivors, their families and all the children who never returned to the homes from which they were taken,” said Hassan Yussuff,…
Read More