Families paying too high a price for tough economic times

November 21, 2023

OTTAWA – Canada’s unions welcome progress on housing affordability in the federal Fall Economic Statement today. While loud voices push for government cuts and austerity, Canadian Labour Congress President Bea Bruske argues that lasting economic benefits come from building affordable homes, investing in a low-carbon transition, and creating child care spaces.

“High decibel levels from the right-wing business community demanding cuts simply fail to recognize that when we invest in housing, child care and sustainable jobs we are investing in our future and our kids’ future,” declared Bruske. “When we create child care spaces, more parents can enter the workforce. When we invest in the energy transition, we create the good, sustainable, union jobs of the future. These are the kinds of smart, pragmatic decisions that will build the future communities we want to live in.”

“October saw the largest one month increase in rent prices in over 40 years. That’s the biggest jump in over four decades. Working people welcomed progress on housing affordability, but more is needed to help people struggling to afford rising prices.”

Workers are looking to the government to act as families fall further behind.

“The government is predicting a big jump in unemployment and slower economic growth. This will mean 150,000 more workers losing their job. It is concerning as our economy is teetering on the precipice of a recession,” explained Bruske. “Instead of even more cuts to our public service, workers wanted to see the government take action to make wildly profitable oil and grocery corporations pay what they owe and fix Employment Insurance, so critical support is there for workers when they need it most.”

Bruske added that Canada faces stark fiscal policy decisions in the months and years ahead that will shape Canada’s future.

“We need to be on a financially sustainable path. But this doesn’t mean cuts to critical help and services families rely on, as Pierre Poilievre and the Conservatives keep pushing,” warned Bruske. “Amplifying anger may help serve his ambition, but it’s not doing anything to actually help people. Mr. Poilievre will never ask profitable oil companies and grocery chains to pay what they owe – the government should.”

The Canadian Labour Congress is the largest labour organization in Canada, bringing together dozens of national and international unions, provincial and territorial federations of labour and community-based labour councils to represent more than 3 million workers across the country.

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