Budget makes positive moves, but still too slowly

OTTAWA, March 22 – While today’s federal budget contains several encouraging elements to grow and strengthen an economy that helps working people and their families, more could have been done, says Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “It is encouraging to see investment measures in this budget that will help workers, their families and their communities to build better futures,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said. Dias pointed specifically to increased child care funding, a new national housing strategy, and skills development programs, particularly those targeting women and Aboriginal communities, as measures that will help working families. While the pledge to create 40,000 child care spaces is encouraging, Dias noted that it relies on the participation of the provinces and territories. “Equity is not possible when people are unable to participate in the workforce,” said Dias. “Affordable childcare will help more women join and stay in the workforce. The provinces and territories need to support affordable childcare programs in the regions.” While the announcement of a $1.26 billion Strategic Innovations Fund is encouraging, Dias said the budget contained too few details on how it would operate. Unifor has called for the Automotive Innovation Fund which is rolled into the new fund, to be grants based, not loans. Dias applauded the introduction of a gender-based analysis in the budget, saying the measure is long overdue and will help the federal government develop programs to address gender inequity, though was often short on details to address the issues it raised. While some needed measures were taken to address regulations that have become outdated due to new technologies, such as new measures to ensure ride-sharing services collect and pay the same GST as established taxi services, other opportunities like Airbnb and Netflix were missed. “The crisis facing Canada’s media sector requires fast action, and a simple measure such as applying the GST to streaming series such as Netflix could help fund Canadian content,” Dias said. Unifor will continue to play a strong role in any discussion about the future of Canadian media, including the budget pledge to review the Broadcast Act and the Telecommunications Act in the coming months. -30- For more information, please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at @email or (cell) 647-385-4054.