Labour Day is a time to recognize and appreciate what workers contribute to making Canada a better country.
This year, Labour Day falls just as the federal election period officially begins. From now until election day workers and PSAC members can make sure that the next federal government takes real action to recognize our contribution. The election is our chance to elect candidates who support workers and our communities, and keep those who don’t at bay.
Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives cannot be trusted to support Canada’s workers. The recent Conservative record on the public service under Stephen Harper is well-known: job cuts; service cuts; and constant attacks on working conditions.
Scheer is going to pick up where Harper left off. He’ll come after pensions, benefits, and many other hard-fought gains. He’ll also raise the retirement age, attack workers’ rights, trample on civil liberties, and turn good jobs into more precarious work.
And let’s not forget that while the Liberals are responsible for carelessly rolling Phoenix out, it’s the Conservatives’ slash and burn approach to the public service that created the Phoenix disaster that PSAC members continue to endure.
PSAC members deserve better. They deserve a government that will commit to:
- Fair contracts. Approximately 140,000 PSAC members have been bargaining for new collective agreements with the federal government to improve their working conditions. Negotiations for most started more than a year ago and, in the meantime, members have been working without contracts. It’s time for a fair resolution to these talks.
- A just settlement on Phoenix. More than three and a half years after the launch of the Phoenix pay system, PSAC members in the federal government continue to be underpaid, overpaid and not paid at all. They should be compensated adequately and equitably for enduring this ordeal.
Moreover, all workers in Canada deserve a government that wants to make life more affordable and financially secure for them by committing to:
- Universal pharmacare. Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. The current health care system must be expanded to include a universal pharmacare plan. No one should have to decide between buying groceries and getting the medicine they need.
- Affordable child care. Parents in Canada continue to face exorbitant bills and long waitlists for child care. Making affordable, high-quality, inclusive and culturally appropriate child care available to all—including parents who work non-standard hours and those who live in rural communities—will grow the economy, promote gender equality, increase women’s labour force participation and enhance children’s well-being.
- Retirement security. The public pension system is due for a massive expansion to ensure all workers can retire with financial security. Moreover, new laws are needed to ensure that employee pensions are safe in situations where companies declare bankruptcy.
As we take some time to relax and celebrate workers this year, let’s also commit ourselves to building a brighter future for Canada—a future with strong public services for all.