Canada’s unions urge government to stay on fiscal track

July 8, 2020

OTTAWA – The fiscal update released today shows that there is still room for economic expansion by the federal government. Canada’s approach so far has been measured and proportionate, with spending in line with other G7 countries.

“A single deficit number does not tell the full story. If we look at the total debt to GDP ratio, Canada is still in good shape,” said Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff. “This means the country is in a strong position to ensure that workers and their families continue to receive the support they desperately need. Calls for austerity and cuts are misguided, cruel and out of step with what most Canadians expect from our governments.

“We are still in the midst of dealing with the social and economic fallout of an ongoing pandemic. Two million jobs are currently being subsidized by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program. Almost seven million Canadians still don’t have a job to go back to, and with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit ending in August, we urgently need a plan to help those who continue to face uncertainty.”

The CLC has six recommendations for EI reform to ensure a smooth transition for those currently on CERB. These reforms include waiving qualifying hours to maximize access to the program, increasing the duration of EI and allowing EI claimants to enroll in education programs.

Furthermore, the CLC will be calling on all levels of government to learn from the lessons of COVID-19 to build a stronger, more resilient economy. The recovery should include reforms of social programs to ensure no one falls through the cracks.

“The federal government responded quickly when we needed them to,” said Yussuff. “There is still capacity to deal with what has been the most significant financial and health crisis in recent history. The government is right to continue financially supporting Canadians throughout these unprecedented times.”

Canada has the lowest debt to GDP ratio among G7 nations, and is the only G7 country below 50 per cent.

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

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