Canadian labour leaders met with Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade; her Parliamentary Secretary, David Lametti; and MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour this morning to kick off consultations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
“We are very encouraged that the ministers have reached out to us to start what we know will be an ongoing discussion about whether this deal benefits Canadian workers and industries,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.
Labour leaders raised a number of concerns with the ministers, including how to ensure the deal actually helps to raise labour standards instead of lowering them, how violations would be penalized, the very dire impact it would have on Canada’s auto sector, how it could impact drug costs, why it should not include reference to temporary foreign workers, and how it could impede Canada’s commitments on climate change.
“We made it very clear to the ministers that we aren’t against trade, but it must be fair trade,” said Yussuff.
Labour leaders also encouraged the ministers to consider conducting a very robust consultation that extends beyond Parliamentary Committee hearings.
Minister Freeland told labour leaders today that the TPP would not take effect in Canada until it is ratified by a vote in Parliament.
Labour leaders at the meeting included Hassan Yussuff, President, CLC; James Clancy, President, National Union of Public and General Employees; Jerry Dias, National President, Unifor; François Laporte, President, Teamsters Canada; Dave Ritchie, General Vice President, Canada, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers – Canada; and Linda Silas, President, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.