Forward Together

Rising interest rates and record inflation creating perfect storm of unaffordability

April 13, 2022

Bruske: With the cost of everything – even debt – rising fast, we must fight low-wage policies that hurt workers and their families

OTTAWA – With fast rising interest rates and inflation increasing well ahead of wages, Canada’s unions are urging governments to take action to help families facing an ever‑tightening financial squeeze.

Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress said that it is critical that policy makers don’t return to the low-wage policies being pushed by Conservatives and Bay St. CEOs.

“For decades, governments have listened to Bay St. lobbyists and enacted policies that put profits before people. This has meant growing inequities and widening income inequality,” said Bruske. “With rising interest rates making debt more expensive and wages lagging behind inflation, workers and their families are being caught in an economic vise and looking to the government for help.”

Bruske pointed out there are concrete actions governments can take to better support workers and help ensure fair wages.

“We need to restore balance in labour relations by making changes to support collective bargaining including sectoral standard-setting,” said Bruske. “One way we can push back against the low-wage agenda is to create a pilot project looking into sectoral bargaining to set benefits, vacation pay and workplace standards. This sectoral approach leverages the power of collective action for workers in and outside of unions in a particular industry.”

Bruske added that workers are falling even further behind in places like Alberta and Ontario, where Draconian laws have been put in place to limit wage growth.

“We’ve gone from fiscal guardrails on the economy to governments guarding against fair wage growth,” concluded Bruske. “With the cost of food, energy and now credit card bills on the rise, Canada’s unions will continue to fight against low-wage policies that hurt workers and their families. We are looking to MPs to improve labour standards to better protect workers in the gig economy and stop companies from contract flipping to lower wages.”

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