POSTED MARCH 31, 2022 – from IBEW First District
Over the past couple years, life for Canadians has had great uncertainty; from the COVID-19 pandemic to divisive politics and most recently the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Liberal government has recognized this and has been negotiating with the NDP to deliver stability to Canadians by signing an agreement with the NDP which will mean no federal election until 2025.
Regardless of your political stance, this agreement is a good thing for Canadians. We need a Parliament that is willing to work together on common goals that will help Canadians and working families. This stability means that our representatives can focus the next few years on delivering progressive policies for working people instead of creating divisiveness within Canadians and campaigning for another election.
Political parties working together under a Minority Government has historically led to some of the most progressive programs that Canadians rely on today. It was under the second Liberal minority government of Lester B. Pearson from 1965-1968 that the Liberals worked together with the NDP to pass the “Medical Care Act” which established government funded healthcare in Canada. This current agreement provides the same opportunity and will allow us to expand on public health services such as Pharmacare, Dental Care and Long-TermCare, and implements 10 paid sick days, for federally regulated workers, and anti-scab legislation by the end of 2023.
This agreement is a great opportunity to advocate and push for progressive change that will benefit IBEW members and working families across the country. However, this is just the beginning. We need to hold our government accountable and continue to lobby to ensure these concepts become legislation. I encourage all of you to work with your Local Union Political Action Committee (PAC) and meet with your Members of Parliament to let them know just how important this work is and how much it will benefit not only IBEW members but all Canadians.
The Canadian Labour Congress has summarized the Agreement below.
LIBERAL - NEW DEMOCRAT LANDMARK CONFIDENCE AND SUPPLY AGREEMENT DELIVERS HELP FOR WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
• Canada’s unions welcome this historic agreement and look forward to making vital progress on so many issues we have fought so long for.
• We celebrate concrete progress towards a better deal for workers, with anti-scab legislation covering both lockouts and strikes, and immediate implementation of 10 days paid sick leave.
• Throughout the election and since, we have urged parties to put people before politics. Today, the Liberals and New Democrats delivered.
• While Conservatives try to frustrate progress with their corrosive partisanship, this deal cuts through and delivers positive results for people.
• With today’s agreement, Parliament can now move forward on a recovery that puts workers and their families at its heart.
Highlights from the Liberal-NDP Supply and Confidence Agreement
Canada’s unions have kept pressing Parliamentarians to deliver for workers and today’s agreement takes positive steps forward on key priorities the labour movement has fought for, in some cases for many decades.
Using our influence to deliver a better deal for workers:
• Implementing 10 days paid sick leave as soon as possible in 2022.
• Anti-scab legislation by the end of 2023 for federally regulated industries, covering both lockouts and strikes.
We have been fighting to invest in strengthen public health care, and this deal delivers:
• Pharmacare, with substantial steps towards universal pharmacare including a Canada Pharmacare Act in place by end of 2023; followed by a national formulary for essential medicines and a bulk purchasing plan in place by 2025.
• Dentalcare for low-income Canadians, beginning with under 12-year-olds in 2022; under 18’s, seniors and people with disabilities in 2023; and all those making less than $90,000 by 2025.
• Safe Long-term Care Act, to ensure seniors get the care they deserve, regardless of where they live in Canada.
• Immediate increased health funding, working with provinces to deliver more primary care nurses and doctors, mental health support, homecare, better data and improved health outcomes.
With rising cost of living and stagnant wages, families are facing a squeeze. We have been fighting to make life more affordable and this deal delivers:
• Affordable housing, through the extension of the Rapid Housing Initiative, focusing the Rental Construction and Financing Initiative on affordable units; a Housing Accelerator Fund; $500 top up to Canada Housing Benefit in 2022; and a Homebuyer’s Bill of Rights and tackling housing market speculation by the end of 2023.
• Early Learning and Child Care Act, introduced this year to enshrine affordable child care agreements in law and protect long-term funding for non-profit and public spaces, to make sure working families have access to high-quality affordable child care.
We have been fighting to tackle climate change, including a Just Transition, so no workers are left behind, and this deal delivers:
• Working with unions on Just Transition legislation and moving forward in 2022 with a Clean Jobs Training Centre.
• Home efficiency retrofit programs, with multiple streams that include low-income and multi-unit residential and invest in building Canadian supply chains for this work, creating good jobs in Canada.
After we have seen companies extracting huge pandemic profits, this deal delivers a fairer tax system:
• Pandemic profiteers tax changes for financial institutions who have made large profits during the pandemic.
• Beneficial ownership registry by the end of 2023.
Canada’s unions have been urging the government forward on Indigenous reconciliation, and this deal delivers:
• Significant new investments in Indigenous housing in 2022.
• Accelerating the implementation of the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People
• Federal-Provincial-Territorial table on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People, to better facilitate and coordinate this work.
• Supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities undertake the work of burial searches at former residential school sites.
The deal includes regular meetings between the Liberal and NDP leaders, House Leader, Whips and an oversight group in order to keep this deal on track and make sure Parliament continues to deliver for people.