Jobs and the Economy

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Letter to Minister Freeland on Canada's Affordability Crisis

The Honourable Minister Freeland, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Finance

Dear Minister Freeland,
                                                                     Re: Canada’s Affordability Crisis

I followed with great interest the details of your remarks to the Empire Club on June 16, regarding rising inflation and the affordability crisis that afflicts many working families in Canada.

Manitoba workers deserve a $15 minimum wage in 2022

WINNIPEG—Unifor is urging the Government of Manitoba to accelerate its plans to increase the minimum wage, calling for $15 per hour be the standard by the end of the 2022.

“Premier Heather Stefanson has conceded that it’s not okay for Manitoba’s most vulnerable workers to be paid the lowest in Canada,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “Stefanson has to aim higher than ‘not the worst’. Manitoba’s workers deserve fair pay and a robust system of employment standards that protect them from greedy and unethical bosses.”

Workers in Canada are struggling under the weight of rising inflation.

This column originally appeared in the Toronto Star on May 7, 2022

The price of food, gasoline and other consumer goods is rising fast — faster, it seems, than most workers’ wages can keep up. Average prices rose by 6.7% last month, compared with the year prior. Average wages, on the other hand, fell by 1.6%.

Most economists seem confounded by the root cause of inflation.

Unifor calls on USTR to end trade animosity with Canada

Unifor called on the Biden’s top trade officials to put an end to aggressive and unfair trade policies affecting Canadian workers at an in-person Roundtable on Labour and Trade with United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai, Canada’s Minister of International Trade Mary Ng and Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan,

Change is in the air but which way is it blowing?

Premier Andrew Furey’s new budget is titled “Change is in the Air,” but it’s still unclear if his government is blowing towards implementing additional damaging PERT report recommendations or towards a fair and inclusive economic recovery for all.

Budget 2022 indicates the government is ready to make some significant transformations, but not yet ready to decide which direction that change will lead. I’m left with more questions than answers about which path they will choose or if they will opt to do the bare minimum on both – essentially sticking with the status quo.

Budget inches toward fairness, but leaves big gaps

OTTAWA – Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, says Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tightened the belt on workers in this year’s federal budget.

“Unifor is pleased there was some continued effort to improve the lives of workers in Canada by investing in programs that move the country towards a fair, inclusive and resilient economy,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer. “But the goalposts and investments fall far short of what we need after two turbulent years of a pandemic.”