On April 19, 2021 the federal government announced its first budget in two years. More than 12 months into a global pandemic and the accompanying economic shock, and in the midst of a devastating third wave of infections in Canada, this budget comes at a crucial time. The pandemic has forced Canadians to confront stark realities and profound shortcomings in our society and economy. From the crisis in long-term care, to the disproportionate burdens borne by women due to the absence of universal, accessible child care, to the unpreparedness and inadequacies of the Employment Insurance (EI) program, the pandemic suddenly called our attention to profound shortcomings which unions and the labour movement had demanded action on for years.
These shortcomings were not accidental; they were the result of a political agenda that prioritized cutting taxes, minimizing costs and regulatory burdens for employers, keeping workers vulnerable and reducing social program spending and public investment. In the 2020 pandemic, the decades-old priority placed on balanced budgets and holding down social investment failed Canadians spectacularly. Equally, however, the improvised emergency income supports, caregiver benefits, sick benefits and other measures rushed into place contained the seeds, however partial and incomplete, of a more resilient, equitable and inclusive society.
The CLC, which represents over 3 million workers in Canada, previously responded to the budget announcement, and is now issuing a more in-depth analysis of what these commitments by the federal government will mean for Canadian workers and their families.
Read the CLC’s full analysis here.