COVID-19 Pandemic underscores importance of protecting workers, says Green Party

OTTAWA – Labour Day is a time to reflect on the tremendous accomplishments of previous generations of workers while acknowledging the struggles of workers today, and continuing to strive for improved working conditions in Canada and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world of work forever, exposing gross inequalities in workers’ rights and compensation, while underscoring the stark reality that those upon whom society relies the most are too often underpaid and undervalued. 

As Canada moves forward with its economic recovery plan, Greens urge the government to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 dollars per hour, close the gender wage gap, eliminate wage disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians and ensure Canadian workers have access to adequate sickness leave, and health benefits. 

“This deadly pandemic has taken a terrible toll on Canadians and it’s not over yet,” said Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts. “As we unpack the lessons learned from this crisis, our recovery plans must include better working conditions and more equitable opportunities for all. Now is the time to set a new course for the future of work, one that recognizes and honours the divergent needs of our communities. Both the health crisis and the climate emergency invite us to implement a resilient recovery plan that will prepare our workforce for the challenges ahead.”

Paul Manly (MP, Nanaimo-Ladysmith) and Green caucus critic for labour, employment, workforce development and disability inclusion added, “As we move into recovery mode and progress towards developing a green economy, workers in the fossil fuel sectors will gradually transition to new energy sectors. It’s important that this be a “just and fair transition”, one that includes measures such as income protection, jobs guarantees, retraining and resettlement. Such programs would be developed in partnership with workers and their unions and should contain options for collective bargaining to help regulate working salaries, conditions, benefits and overall workers’ rights.”

“The Green Party’s recovery plan Reimagining Our Future suggests that it’s time to put an end to incrementalism and sweep away the remnants of an unjust, unsustainable world,” concluded Ms. Roberts. “There is much to be done, but we have learned during this time that in an emergency governments can move fast and do what it takes to protect its citizens. Let’s not miss this chance to rebuild a safer and fairer work environment for everyone.”

On this Labour Day, the Green Party of Canada is pleased to announce that the GPC party staff are now unionized. The employees of the Green Party of Canada successfully filed an application before the Ontario Labour Relations Board in August 2020, to be represented by the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, COPE Local 131.

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