Budget 2024 delivers social progress to help Canadians weather economic headwinds

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Unifor flag flying in front of Parliament Hill

OTTAWA –Unifor recognizes the federal government for delivering a budget that pushes social progress and jobs in the face of economic inequities, relentless affordability pressures and stubbornly high interest rates.

“Working people in Canada have been struggling with an affordability crisis, exacerbated by the Bank of Canada’s stubborn refusal to lower interest rates,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.

“Budgets can’t undo decades of revenue-depleting tax cuts, but they can act as building-blocks for more creative and progressive ways to help Canadians weather the economic challenges they face now and in the future.”

With a focus on “Fairness for Every Generation”, Budget 2024 commits to significantly bolster Canada’s housing stock, including affordable rental housing and social housing and provides new protections to renters. The Budget also commits to establish a long overdue national school food program that, along with childcare, dental care, and the beginnings of a pharmacare program, represent the most ambitious progress on social programs in decades.

Unifor is pleased to hear of the commitment to new funding for VIA Rail to replace its aging fleet of passenger rail vehicles. However, without distinct commitments to keep VIA Rail public and rail cars built in Canada, the country will not reap the full rewards of the investment.

In the auto sector, a new Electric Vehicle (EV) Supply Chain investment tax credit was announced to support growth in the EV supply chain. The budget also invests in space and aerospace with a commitment to enhance technology development for space exploration and purchase necessary vehicles and equipment. Unifor believes these efforts must be coupled with a procurement strategy and industrial strategy that ensures equipment will be designed and built in Canada.

Increasing taxes on wealthy individuals has been a long-standing Unifor recommendation. The union commends the government’s decision to increase the Capital Gains tax paid by the wealthiest individuals and corporations and encourages government to continue exploring additional tax reform measures that ensure the rich pay their fair share.

Unifor also welcomes the government’s commitment to developing legislation that guides requirements for safe long-term care homes through the Safe Long-Term Care Act and to develop a National Caregiving Strategy, which affects nurses, personal support workers and early child care educators among others.

Budget 2024 did miss the mark on several key recommendations identified by Unifor.

“This budget failed to address priorities including recapitalizing the Strategic Innovation Fund, investment in domestically manufactured transit vehicles and rolling stock, targeted supports for workers in Canada’s forestry sector and disclosure by telecommunications companies on outsourcing work,” said Unifor Quebec Director Daniel Cloutier.

The union is also disappointed by the key omission of Employment Insurance reform to improve eligibility and benefits for workers.

“Unifor will continue to fight for strong industrial policy and for the government to deliver on a long-standing promise to modernize and improve the Employment Insurance Program to ensure that it supports workers when they need it the most,” Payne added.

In 2020, Unifor released its Build Back Better road map to pave the way for a fair, inclusive and resilient economic recovery, throughout and beyond the pandemic.

That road map included affordable child care, universal pharmacare, critical infrastructure, anti-scab legislation and industrial development and investment.

“The pandemic exposed workers’ vulnerability to the long-standing weaknesses in our social services and gaps in industrial policies, made worse by the previous Harper government,” said Payne. “It’s encouraging to see this government lay the foundations for progress that will serve workers well for generations to come.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 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 media inquiries in English please contact Unifor Communications Representative Jenny Yuen at jenny.yuen@unifor.org or by cell at (416) 938-6157.


Media Contact

Jenny Yuen

National Communications Representative