July 25, 2016

(Whitehorse, YT) – Federation of Labour presidents congratulate the premiers on Canada Pension Plan (CPP) expansion, are encouraged by the support for a new health accord, and are concerned about how sweeping trade deals may impact local communities, economies, and working people.

“The labour movement in this country has been advocating for an expanded CPP for many years. We are confident the CPP deal will be ratified shortly,” said Vikki Quocksister, president of the Yukon Federation of Labour, “the expansion means future retirees will not have to live in poverty,” she added.

During the Council of the Federation meetings many labour organizations and advocates for properly funded Medicare reached out to the premiers for their support of a new health accord and national pharmacare program.

“We heard this week support for a new health accord, which is very heartening,” said Quocksister, “publicly-funded and administered healthcare is a fundamental social program in Canada; it must be protected and enhanced – the best way to do that is to ensure the federal government is paying its fair share,” she added.

Before and during the premiers’ meetings trade deals occupied much of the conversation.

“Fair trade is good and should be encouraged, but many times trade deals – whether international or internal – force a race to the bottom when it comes to labour standards and protecting local communities and economies,” said Quocksister, “federation of labour presidents are unified in their stance that any trade deal must prioritize workers and their families, must enhance working and safety standards, and protect governments from being sued by corporations when they invest in their own communities and local economies,” she added.

In addition to CPP, healthcare funding, and trade deals, federation of labour presidents raised issues and put forward recommendations that would make life better for vulnerable workers.

“We spent much of our time building relationships with the premiers and raised the issues of a $15 an hour minimum wage, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and Employment Insurance,” said Quocksister, “while there are several positives coming from the premiers’ meeting, we remain very concerned about the internal trade agreement that was announced and will have to read the fine print and see the exemptions list to make a further analysis of its impacts,” she added.

Together, Canada’s provincial and territorial labour federations give voice to over three million workers.

– 30 –