Social Justice and Democracy

Labour celebrating historic wins – but the fight is not over

June 21, 2024

Bruske: This parliamentary session was a historic triumph for the labour movement – but we still have work to do.

OTTAWA – As Parliament adjourns for the summer, Canada’s unions are celebrating major and historic victories for the labour movement. However, the struggle is far from over.

We are finally charting a course towards a sustainable future with workers at the forefront. Last October, Poilievre’s Conservatives stalled Bill C-50 in committee for over a month, engaging in nothing but shenanigans and squandering time and public funds.

Today, workers can celebrate the Royal Assent of the Sustainable Jobs Act, a landmark legislation that grants workers a decisive voice in shaping their future.

The CLC would like to thank the government and the NDP for moving Bill C-50 through the House of Commons and Senator Hassan Yussuff for sponsoring the Bill in the Senate.

The next imperative is for the government to collaborate with industry and workers to set concrete goals that create and protect good union jobs as we confront climate change and establish the Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council.

“This legislation might never have materialized if workers from coast to coast hadn’t raised their voices,” declared Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “By bringing together workers, unions, and businesses, governments now have the potential to drive innovation, decarbonize existing jobs for long-term sustainability, and generate new low-carbon job jobs that enable workers to support their families.”

Another monumental triumph for the labour movement is the passage of Bill C-58, the Anti-Scab legislation, which received unanimous support from MPs and clearance by the Senate. After decades of relentless advocacy, Canada now has federal anti-scab legislation. This is crucial for protecting workers and their right to strike. The use of scab labour not only undermines this right but also exacerbates labour disputes and intensifies hostility on picket lines.

“I’ve heard countless stories from workers who have faced direct confrontations during strikes, jeopardizing their safety and livelihoods. This must never happen. We are pleased to see this long-overdue protection for workers that will significantly restore balance at the bargaining table,” added Bruske.

Earlier this week, CLC President Bea Bruske, alongside Jason Maclean, Chair of the Canadian Health Coalition, and Manuel Arango, Vice President at the Heart and Stroke Foundation, urged Senators to pass Bill C-64, the Pharmacare Act, without amendments or further delays.

“Canadians could be accessing free birth control and diabetes medication this summer if the Senate were to pass Bill C-64 now. People have waited long enough to access free birth control and free diabetes medication and devices. Our message to the Senate is clear: pass this bill now and let’s get these medications to people who need them immediately,” stated Bruske

As the countdown to the next election begins, workers stand united with a clear message to all political parties: if you want our votes, you must respect our rights and deliver real help to workers and families. We demand concrete actions, not empty promises.

Last April, Canada’s labour leaders from across the nation issued a stern warning to politicians from all parties that workers demand more than just supportive rhetoric.

“Workers will hold politicians accountable if they fail to support concrete measures to protect workers’ rights and continue allowing employers to have the upper hand,” warned Bruske. “All parties must commit to concrete actions that dismantle barriers to joining or forming a union and crack down on any company that unfairly obstructs workers from organizing.”

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