Social Justice and Democracy

Canada’s unions: Urgent action needed to help families through the inflation crisis

June 16, 2022

OTTAWA – Day-to-day prices on essentials are surging, interest rates soaring and rents are reaching record levels. Meanwhile, wages are still lagging far behind inflation.

Canada’s unions are urging Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland to announce new measures today to make sure millions of vulnerable workers and their families aren’t left behind by the worsening inflation crisis.

“One of the most important lessons we should have taken from the pandemic was how cushioning the blow of an economic crisis on the most vulnerable helps build a stronger economy. Positive government action positioned Canada for a stronger recovery,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “It is critical that Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has a plan to reduce the impact of sky-high prices and rising interest rates on workers and their families – especially on the most vulnerable lower income families.”

Bruske pointed to a recent Statistics Canada report revealing that one in five expect to use a food bank in the next six months while over 40 percent of Canadian families say they are struggling because of runaway food prices.

“It’s the responsibility of governments to intervene and make sure families are not being left to bear this burden alone. Beyond measures already announced in Budget 2022, additional direct and targeted help to families through an immediate increase in the GST credit would help vulnerable families who need it the most,” emphasized Bruske. “The best way for Canadians to achieve fair wages, benefits and a pension is making it easier to join a union. Signing a union card is a worker’s pathway to dignity and well-being.”

Bruske added that while the Deputy Prime Minister is talking to Bay Street CEOs today, she should also announce new action to make sure pandemic profiteers finally pay their fair share, so the government can invest these revenues in new measures to help low-income Canadians through these tough times.

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