OTTAWA – “The recession may be declared over, but Canada is not truly in the clear until jobs are recovered and productivity improves,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.
“Despite a strong rebound in private sector profits in the last quarter, private sector investment remains weak. This signals a clear need for the federal government to continue to invest in the economy this year, and in future years.”
Moist says looming training, infrastructure and health care deficits provide ample public investment opportunities for next week’s federal budget.
“Canada needs to leap forward in a number of areas, from green technology to expanding and improving public health care as our population ages. Now is the time for the federal government and the public sector to lead the economy with investments that will both drive productivity and create lasting social and physical infrastructure for future generations.”
In a report released today, Statistics Canada shows public investment has kept the recession-ravaged economy afloat, while private sector investment has stagnated.
“Despite rising profits, the private sector is not investing enough in equipment that would increase productivity, or in new operations that would help employ Canadians,” said Moist.
In a letter to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Moist outlined key areas where strategic public investment would create jobs and improve public services for Canadians.
“CUPE welcomed the increased funding for infrastructure in last year’s budget. But given the amount of infrastructure upgrades needed across Canada, we still have a way to go. Despite the additional stimulus, Canadian cities still have an infrastructure deficit of over $100 billion. Moreover, our cities require green infrastructure upgrades to be environmentally sustainable and cost-efficient.”
Moist also urged the government to make long-term, strategic investments that will help accommodate a major demographic shift as the baby boom generation retires.
“The next 30 years will see a rise in skills shortages, a shrinking labour market, and further strain on our health care system as the population ages. Investing now in education, child care, quality public seniors’ care and stable pensions will help Canadians adjust to these major demographic changes.”