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Throne Speech must address COVID-19 impact and plan to build back better

September 23, 2020 - 12:00 AM

September 23, 2020

TORONTO– In the upcoming Throne Speech, Unifor seeks policy priorities to address the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and plan to build back better, socially and financially, from the pandemic.

“Clearly the first priority is to bring the spread of COVID-19 under control, fixing the catastrophe in long-term care and increasing investment in health care are a key part of that effort,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

The union is also looking to the government to reform Employment Insurance (EI), and to create good jobs by supporting a green economic recovery and by implementing national industrial strategies.

“With tens of thousands of Canadians thrown out of work due to the pandemic, the government must make it a priority to create a robust income security system that repairs EI, strengthens employment standards, and increases employment security,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The pandemic has clearly shown that made in Canada matters and that action is needed now to rebuild our domestic industrial capacity.”

In Unifor’s Road Map for a Fair, Inclusive and Resilient Economic Recovery the union also calls on the federal government to create comprehensive industrial strategies in critical sectors such as auto, aerospace, shipbuilding and forestry, along with client services and customer support industries among others.

The union’s plan supports a Green recovery, including a national federal transit strategy and massive investment in clean technology, green infrastructure and associated job creation. 

“As we transition to green energy we must also continue to support our oil and gas sector, which remains vital to the economy, and the workers who have been taken a severe economic hit from the pandemic,” said Dias.

The union continues to advocate for the implementation of universal pharmacare, and the creation of a national universally-accessible childcare program, a pillar for women doubly-hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

“The pandemic disproportionately hurt women, particularly those in low-income jobs,” said Dias. “A national childcare system would remove a major hurtle to the full participation of women in the workforce as we work together to rebuild our economy.”

As Canada’s largest media union, Unifor stresses the need to save local news and to compel foreign web giants to contribute their equal share to the creation of Canadian media content.

Unifor is also calling for a support package for workers in the airline, tourism, hospitality, and travel sectors and for the government to plan for the eventual safe reopening of international borders.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For more information please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).