Helping families facing affordability squeeze must be MPs’ job one

April 25, 2022

Bruske: As Parliament returns, Canada’s unions urge MPs to back workers and reject the push for a low-wage austerity agenda

OTTAWA –– The highest inflation in over three decades plus the largest interest rate rise in over twenty years adds up to families falling further behind. Figures released last week revealed that inflation now stands at 6.7 percent, and rising, while average wages lag far behind at 3 to 3.5 percent.

“With every paycheque, every bill, every trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, workers and their families fall further behind. The situation simply isn’t sustainable. Canadians are looking for action to help,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “MPs can provide urgent relief for families through investments in affordable housing, accelerated action to bring down child care costs and swiftly bring down the cost of needed medicines through implementing pharmacare.”

Bruske added that it was disappointing to see the government reverse course last week on changes to patented drug regulations, leaving Canadian families to pay as much as $13.2 billion more for their medicines over the next decade.

“It was discouraging to see the government fail to stand up to the large pharmaceutical companies. This just adds to the urgency for MPs to move forward on pharmacare,” said Bruske. “We know giant pharmaceuticals and Bay St. CEOs will continue to push the government to put profits before people. It is critical for MPs to stand up to corporate Canada and take concrete action to help families.”

Bruske said that additional measures Parliament can move forward on in the weeks to come include action to improve labour standards to better protect workers in the gig economy; stopping companies from contract flipping to push down wages; and restoring balance in labour relations by making changes to support collective bargaining and bringing in anti-scab legislation.

“We know you can’t count on the markets or Bay St. to strengthen health care, bring fairness to labour negotiations or make life more affordable,” concluded Bruske. “Real progress for workers and their families only comes when MPs have the courage to stand up to corporate Canada and work together to put people first.”

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