Moving Forward With a Minority — Power to the Workers!

Published: October 27, 2021

Canada’s unions are calling on all levels of government to provide adequate support for workers and their families as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic reverberate in communities throughout the nation. As the dust settles on an unnecessary and uncalled-for federal election, the message couldn’t be any clearer. Canadians have sent a concise message to get to work on the issues that matter. As we know, minority governments only last if they have the confidence of the House. This election demonstrated that Canadians want the government to work together.

During this election we asked our members to get involved in the Let’s Build Canada campaign. Your participation in the surveys and letter-writing campaigns enabled our issues to be heard and placed into the party platforms. Issues such as labour mobility tax credit, building green and a stronger workforce were our main focus. As the Canadian Building Trade Unions (CBTU), we were able to get commitments from the parties on issues that matter to our members during this election.

Due to your activism, the CBTU was able to get commitments from the Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP on the workers’ mobility tax credit.

Over 70% of those in the skilled trades identified travelling for work as a common necessity. 75% said there isn’t always work available where they live, and shortages are common. 70% have taken a job outside of their region in the last five years. Due to your activism, the CBTU was able to get commitments from the Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP on the workers’ mobility tax credit. Now it is up to us to make sure that we get this legislation introduced, and by getting members involved we can push the issue over the finish line. The trade mobility tax credit will be beneficial to all members as they travel across their provinces and the country for work.

On the question of building Canada’s green future, two-thirds of respondents have given some thought to what that transition to a green economy means for them. They have some idea of what that will mean and whether they’ll need to be re-skilled. Retraining will be a key concern as job opportunities transition towards those in the green economy and renewables. 47% say that there have been a growing number of opportunities for the current skill sets in renewable green infrastructure and retrofitting industries. Concerns about the financial impact of the transition outweigh the concerns about retraining itself. 76% are concerned that jobs in the renewable green sector will not pay as well, whereas 71% are concerned about the cost they will have to incur regarding retraining. We must ensure that the government prioritizes a “just transition” for workers in affected industries as we move forward.

When it comes to building a stronger workforce, we must push for Employment Insurance (EI) reform and representation on federal EI working groups, boards and committees.

When it comes to building a stronger workforce, we must push for Employment Insurance (EI) reform and representation on federal EI working groups, boards and committees. 93% surveyed agreed that there should be a dedicated skills trade representative or advisor on the federal employment insurance working group when it comes to reforms. 92% agree that EI should have a greater flexibility, for example, removing age limits and being able to receive EI when retraining and upskilling and to permanently remove the clawback on separation monies. A majority demonstrated a desire for more government support on apprenticeships and a transition to a green economy, and 92% preferred to see more government support for oil and gas workers during the transition to a green economy. 84% would like Community Benefit Agreements (CBA’s) to increase the opportunities for unrepresented groups on federal infrastructure and projects.

So, as we move forward with this minority government, it is up to all of us to stay actively involved. We must continue to push this government and our elected representatives on the need to support our initiatives. To see progress, we need to continue these discussions and stay involved. By scanning the QR code on the previous page, you can stay involved and up to date on the issues that affect SMART members across Canada. Your say and vote matters! Workers are the recovery. Power to the Workers!!

In solidarity,

I remain, fraternally yours,

Chris Paswisty
Director of Canadian Affairs