Canada’s unions mark World Day for Decent Work with a call for a robust economic recovery plan

COVID-19 has exposed flaws in social protections in Canada and around the world. The effects of this pandemic on health, employment, income, gender and racial equity are all the more catastrophic because of pre-existing gaps in our social safety net.

Before the pandemic, ever-increasing globalization meant many workers were employed in precarious, low-wage work with few, if any, benefits. Now millions of people across Canada and around the world have seen their jobs disappear. We need a worldwide recovery focused on secure employment and social protection.

This context serves as the backdrop for the annual commemoration of the World Day for Decent Work today, October 7.

“It’s clear that we need a recovery that is focused on shared prosperity and sustainability,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Better jobs are at the core of a robust recovery and that is true both nationally and internationally.”

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is calling for a new social contract to ensure a strong global economic recovery. Canada’s unions have similarly launched Forward Together: A Canadian Plan, a campaign calling for a similar focus on better jobs and reducing inequality.

“With millions of jobs lost across Canada, and hundreds of millions globally, we have to turn our focus to job creation. That includes focusing on secure employment, living wages, the universal right to collective bargaining and occupational health and safety,” said Yussuff. “The current economic model has failed working people. It’s time for us to rise to the challenge we’ve been presented with and to move forward, together.”

The CLC is marking the World Day for Decent Work with a webinar that aims to explore the issues at stake. It will be held on Wednesday, October 7 at 2 PM EDT. To register, click here.

Read ITUC’s statement on A New Social Contract for Recovery and Resilience here.

Canada’s unions encourage donations to local food banks to mark Thanksgiving

Like so many other occasions, Thanksgiving won’t be the same this year due to COVID-19. Rates of COVID-19 are rising again, and many people in Canada will mark the holiday with fewer people around the table.

What is not on the table will also be a source of anxiety and trepidation as growing numbers of individuals and families struggle with food insecurity.

“We’re seeing troubling reports that more and more people in Canada are food insecure,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Thanksgiving is an opportunity to help alleviate this stress in a small but significant way. It is more important than ever that those of us who are able to support our local food banks give more to help make things easier on individuals and on families.”

According to the non-profit Community Food Centres Canada, food insecurity is negatively impacting the mental and physical health of millions of Canadians. A report by Statistics Canada this past May found that one in seven survey respondents experienced moderate to severe food insecurity. This is significantly higher than the previous year, when over 4.5 million people were found to have limited access to adequate nutrition. Research shows that children, Indigenous people, people of colour, single parents, newcomers and people in Northern communities are all disproportionately impacted.

“We are getting through this pandemic by working together, and that means we need to support each other in these tough times,” said Yussuff. “Many non-profit agencies and charities are seeing donations dwindle and a decrease in volunteers due to COVID-19. This is happening at the same time that demand for help is going up. Let’s do our part to make sure no one in our communities ever has to go hungry.”

Various labour councils across Canada will also be donating to local food banks.

Canada’s unions have launched an ambitious recovery plan that focuses on job creation, healthcare and social programs that aim to reduce inequality and help lift people out of poverty. Learn about the campaign here.