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Federal budget – The good, the bad and the ugly

19 April, 2021

Toronto, ON – In one of the most important-anticipated budgets in our lifetime, the IAM hopes it will reveal a clear roadmap to our fiscal future. The grave nature of the disruptions caused by COVID-19 demands nothing less.

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered her first budget to Canadians today. The budget, first intended to be presented by former Finance Minister Bill Morneau on 30 March, 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After carefully looking at what’s on the table, the IAM has concluded there are good things, but there are also some serious deficiencies in the budget – some of them downright ugly!

THE GOOD

An important part of the budget included a national childcare program with an initial investment of $2 billion, leading to a full-scale national plan. Intended to quickly relieve the burden primarily placed on women, key details will be unveiled in the next 12-18 months. The IAM understands the inequalities women have faced because of the pandemic and urges no delay in implementing the plan. It is long overdue.

The new Canada Recovery Hiring Program helps companies who have used the Canada Emergence Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to access up to $1,100 for each four-week period of a new employee’s term. The new program includes training and credit for hiring.

Another key component of the budget included efforts targeted at supporting women, low-wage workers, students and those in essential jobs as the economy comes back.

After years of various advocacy groups calling on the federal government to implement a $ 15 minimum federal wage, efforts which the IAM was part of, we are pleased this has made into the budget. This change will make a difference for thousands of low wage workers, but we know, the fight isn’t over, yet.

After strong lobbying efforts by the IAM along with CLC affiliates to reform the EI system, one small battle has been won: The Liberals propose to make EI benefits more accessible by lowering the minimum qualifying hours to 420.

THE BAD

The IAM is quite concerned that a national pharmacare was not introduced. Canadians have been waiting for this for too long and have all seen the benefit of national pharmacare during the pandemic.

Further, there is no significant stimulus for the aerospace industry, something we have been advocating for many years. An economic stimulus would greatly impact our members and secure the livelihoods of tens of thousands of workers in the industry. Despite the promise of $250 million over three years, those monies are not nearly enough to save the industry from its current precarious position. To say we are disappointed would be an understatement.

The Liberal has shown no leadership in contract flipping, just a promise of “fixing it later.” Our members, suffering under this unfair and unethical practice, cannot wait until later. We need action now!

THE UGLY

“Fair taxation” under successive Conservative and liberal governments has been a joke. If anything, the pandemic has shown that the richest corporations and individuals have seen their wealth grow massively. Aside from the few token gestures, the real change in the tax system has yet to be delivered.

The IAM wants to ensure that costs aren’t passed on to low- and middle-income earners. We also see an immediate need for limits on executive bonuses, buyouts and other compensation. Closing the immense gap between rich and poor should have been a top priority but clearly it didn’t filter down to the budget.

“Our members across Canada have suffered enormously during this pandemic and we want to make sure this budget goes a long way towards helping workers in all workplaces.” said Stan Pickthall, IAM Canadian General Vice-President. “As a Union we will continue to press this Trudeau government and all Provincial governments on behalf of our membership and on behalf of all working Families.”

The IAM understands that full economic recovery will take a long time and are willing to participate in any recovery, but we need a lot more from the government – and we need it now.

The IAMAW represents over 55,000 members across Canada, of which 22,000 work in the aviation, aerospace and air transportation sector. We also represent workers in aircraft parts manufacturing, aircraft overhaul and repair, screening services across airports in Canada, automotive dealership, parts manufacturing, the hospitality sector, custom paint additives, industrial pump manufacturing, plastics manufacturing to woodworking.

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This article was originally posted on the IAM Canada website. View the original post here: Federal budget – The good, the bad and the ugly