October 7, 2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of the World Day for Decent Work, a day when unions around the world unite in action for decent work.
What is “decent work”?
- Access for all workers to quality jobs, dignity, equality, and safe working conditions.
- Putting workers at the centre of development and giving them a voice in what they do.
This year’s global focus is on struggles to win living minimum wages and a pay raise for all workers.
The Canadian Labour Congress has outlined steps Canada needs to take in a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, outlining several steps the federal government can take to ensure better access to decent work at home and abroad.
“We need federal leadership on decent work, not just so that we improve work for Canadians, but so we can set an example for other countries too,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.
What our federal government can do
- Ensure the creation of high-quality jobs needed by millions of unemployed, underemployed, and precariously-employed workers in Canada.
- Promote and uphold collective bargaining rights at home and abroad.
- Restore the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, indexing it to wage growth, and bring back full employment as a primary policy target.
- Create public employment programs for regions and populations with high unemployment or a high concentration of low-wage workers. That should include job creation programs for youth, Indigenous and Northern communities, newcomers to Canada, Alberta and the Atlantic provinces;
- Commit to long-term funding for high-quality, public, universal, affordable child care;
- Adopt strong, proactive pay equity legislation incorporating the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force;
- Use all available tools to eliminate discrimination in hiring, promotion, and pay, including strengthening the Employment Equity Act and the Federal Contractors Program;
- Introduce paid sick leave and paid leave for victims of domestic violence for workers in the federal jurisdiction, and encourage provinces and territories to follow suit;
- End the systematic violation of migrant workers’ rights by abolishing tied work permits and implementing a proactive compliance assessment and enforcement regime;
- Promote fairness by tightening regulations on hours of work and scheduling;
- Increase staffing, training and resources for federal employment standards and health and safety inspectors; and
- Improve the Wage Earner Protection Program to better protect wages when employers go bankrupt or simply disappear.
Canada’s unions are also asking the federal government to promote decent work in global supply chains and the extractive sectors by:
- Appointing a human rights ombudsperson to investigate how Canadian companies’ foreign operations impact human rights;
- Introducing national due diligence legislation with a monitoring mechanism and an enforcement procedure for large companies.