The world of work has changed and is changing rapidly. The key sources of change are:
- The long-term deterioration in workers’ rights, individual and collective, caused by the four decade-long neoliberal bias against them and in favour of employers and the wealthy;
- The trends toward automation and offshoring leading to rising unemployment and loss of high-quality jobs;
- The rise of precarious part-time work with few benefits and no pensions, creating a veritable ‘precariat’ consisting of marginalized and young workers;
- The pandemic that has transformed the world of work for nearly everyone, bringing with it home-working, social distancing and the need for new standards of workplace health and safety to make workplaces safe against the threat of Covid-19 and other epi- and pandemics;
- Large corporations that prey on small business and their ability to provide decent jobs;
- The gig economy;
- Pension poverty and lack of pensions for a growing proportion of the workforce; and
- Rising Discrimination against marginalized groups, including women, immigrants and indigenous people, despite legal safeguards in place so far.
Workers deserve a positive work environment. Fair and high wages make for a motivated workforce and a prosperous economy. Freedom from discrimination and low-income differentials between management and workers promote belonging and commitment.
We have come a long way from the wage slavery and subjection to employer whim of the early Industrial Revolution. Today, we expect workers to have a shared relationship with management. It is the combination of management and workers that will determine the success and sustainability of Canadian firms.
We conceive of workers’ rights as part of our broader plan for the economy and the environment and this document must be read in conjunction with our plans for them.
Finally, workers’ rights in Canada are indivisible from those abroad. We will promote them through our broader economic policy and foreign policy aimed at promoting similarly high-wage prosperous economies abroad and, where necessary, by working in solidarity with organizations of workers, formal and informal, without infringing on the national sovereignty of other countries.