Recommendation 1: Building an Economy that Leaves No Worker Behind

Working people are struggling. From the health care and affordability crises to industrial transitions, workers are facing threats to their work and their income security. Some politicians and policy makers would like us to believe that workers need to accept worse outcomes in order to save the economy. Rather than be intimidated by these threats or accepting the rhetoric, Unifor members have shown resilience and a resolve to fight for what all workers in Canada deserve – an economy that delivers good, family supporting jobs, income security, comprehensive health care and continuous gains in standards of living.

A thriving economy with skilled workers, good jobs and shared prosperity doesn’t happen by accident. The current industrial renaissance driving the transition to electric vehicles and batteries is the result of strategic, forward thinking and government investment towards fulfilling an economic vision. This leadership must be replicated across our economy – in health care and education, in forestry, energy, transportation and mass transit, media and telecommunications, and in the broader manufacturing and services sectors.

Governments need to be ambitious. They must increase investment and set standards that tie public investment to social and sustainable development objectives.

As Unifor National President, I recommend that Unifor:

  • Call on governments at all levels to create industrial strategies in both goods and services producing sectors to attract local investments, grow good, union jobs and set social and sustainable development goals. Unifor will inform this work by continuously renewing and promoting the union’s sector strategies, in conjunction with Industry Councils,
  • Challenge governments at all levels to take responsibility for the staffing crisis in the broader public sector and develop comprehensive strategies to improve working conditions and service standards,
  • Design and advocate for robust, economy wide Labour Adjustment Support Programs, including community based, union-run unemployed worker help centers, that deliver a constellation of job transition supports for workers affected by job displacement, as a feature of the union’s ongoing just and sustainable transition work,
  • Urge governments to adopt strong, enforceable conditions to ensure public investment in private enterprise and public programs is used to benefit the Canadian economy, support workers’ rights and sustain good, union jobs,
  • Pursue campaigns intended to leverage government procurement to grow the footprint of Canadian-made products and services, including trains, busses, railcars and telecommunications services, among others. This will create jobs in Canada, ensuring public money is maximizing local economic value instead of simply focusing on lowest cost, and
  • Continue to challenge Canada’s affordability crisis, and its root causes, by directly addressing corporate profiteering, the financialization of the housing market, the lack of affordable housing, rising interest rates, and ensuring workers’ wages are protected in bouts of high inflation. Unifor’s collective bargaining program must intersect with these objectives.