The social contract that built the 20th century post-war economy has been eroded by decades of deliberate Liberal and Conservative policies that always favour those at the top of the economic food chain.
Talk to many workers these days about pensions, savings and they will look at you like you’re talking about a fantasy world.
The middle class has become the new working-class with white-collar and blue-collar workers living through an endless cycle of short term contract work, without benefits, without pensions, burdened by student debt and unable to buy homes in the communities they love.
This is the result of deliberate political choices. And political choices by Canadians can start to reassert some level of balance to this economy.
We need to start to address these issues to ensure that our workforce has the tools to succeed and thrive in the 21st century.
What Charlie will do
Charlie will fight for better working conditions, pay and jobs for everyone by:
Increasing the maximum amount for the Working Income Tax Benefit, and make it available to more low-income earners, including full-time workers.
This will allow those living in poverty to keep up to $1,000 of their hard-earned money to spend on the essentials like rent and food.
Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour,indexed to inflation.
Ensuring that federal assistance to business is connected to creating and preserving jobs in Canada.
Government has a role to play in helping Canadian businesses start up, grow and find markets – but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the point of a strong economy is shared prosperity. Business assistance should go to making sure that businesses create and preserve jobs.
Protecting pensions by fighting the Liberal Bill C-27.
Targeting corporate tax havens.
Reforming labour laws.
A recent inspection blitz of workplaces in Ontario found that three quarters were in violation of labour law. This is completely unacceptable, and it’s a question of power. Charlie will step up proactive investigation and enforcement of labour laws and bring in anti-scab legislation.
Getting Canadians back to work through modernized, consolidated and expanded skills development programs.
Canada needs to do better at getting Canadians back to work and getting new skills. Charlie will establish a labour market partners’ forum so government can work with labour and other stakeholders to develop programs and make Canada’s labour market development programs more accessible by lowering the eligibility requirement.
Making EI more accessible by lowering the hours requirement for eligibility to 360.
In a turbulent economy, workers need to be better protected from job losses.
Setting an example as the head of Canada’s largest employer, the federal government.
The federal government has been hiring fewer permanent workers and relying increasingly on term and temporary contracts. Charlie will set the tone for employers across Canada by giving term and student workers a path to full-time work whenever possible and cracking down on the use of poorly-paid temporary contract workers to fill long-term needs.
Charlie will fight for families by:
Expanding parental benefits.
Over half of all women making $30,000 or less can’t afford to take maternity benefits. The system isn’t working for them or their families. To fix maternity and parental leave, Charlie will increase the amount of their benefit to 70% of their salary up to the maximum insurable earnings. At the same time, Charlie will lower the eligibility requirements to provide better access.
Moving forward on health care
Pharmacare is a health issue, a class issue and an issue of fairness. Charlie will work with the provinces and territories to create a flexible, portable plan, based on four pillars: universal access to approved drugs, a fair distribution of the costs, a safe and appropriate prescription process that puts patients' needs first, and a commitment for getting maximum value for money.