Canada’s unions: Use fiscal update to reverse seniors’ clawbacks and emergency help for workers

December 9, 2021

Bruske: Parliament must act swiftly to help low-income seniors, the 1.2 million unemployed and the 630K working Canadians who want full-time work but can’t find it

With low-income seniors and unemployed workers being left behind, Canada’s unions are demanding the upcoming Economic and Fiscal Update be more than an accounting exercise but instead include a course correction on key issues.

“The most vital thing about a country’s balance sheet is the vision and values of the elected officials who control it,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “The Economic and Fiscal Update is a critical opportunity for the government to end the CERB clawbacks affecting low-income seniors and act swiftly to get help to people who were cut off when emergency benefits were cancelled.”

Bruske said that Canada’s unions are hearing every day from workers about how the crisis is not over for them, their family or their community. They are asking the government to use the Fiscal Update to show that it is serious about investing in making life more affordable and pushing back against the right-wing austerity agenda of spending cuts and a return to low-wage policies.

“We keep hearing right-wing thinkers argue for a return to austerity and 1990’s style fiscal policies. But we know a low wage agenda won’t solve the affordability crisis facing workers and their families,” said Bruske. “Instead, government must invest in repairing our social safety net and nurturing the recovering economy. This includes action on fair taxation so those at the top, who have made obscene profits during the pandemic, are finally made to pay their fair share.”

Bruske added that it is vital that we learn lessons from the pandemic and build back our communities, so they are more equitable than before the pandemic, not less.

“The fiscal update must make clear that the federal government is prepared to make investments to make life more affordable and ensure vital services, like EI, are there for people when they need it,” concluded Bruske. “This includes investments in making child care, housing and pharmacare more affordable.”

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