Mark Hancock | National President

Mark HancockThe last few months living through the COVID-19 emergency have made it crystal clear to Canadians just how important strong public services are to our everyday life. As we start the process of rebuilding, we are going to make sure nobody forgets that.

In every crisis, there is an opportunity. In the months ahead, we have a chance to change the way our jobs, our economy, and our society work for the better. This is our opportunity to create a better country and a better world for everyone.

In particular, the pandemic has exposed how vital our systems of care are, and how badly they have been starved by generations of austerity-obsessed governments. We have to rethink how we care for each other.

That means bringing long-term care, which has been ground zero for this pandemic, under the Canada Health Act, with consistent funding and national standards to make sure our seniors and the people who care for them are living with dignity. It means removing profit from the sector and bringing private facilities into public ownership.

It also means rethinking and drastically increasing the way we fund health care, and finally implementing a national child care program to support families.

The pandemic has also exposed how often supports for workers – from health and safety protections to employment insurance – fall short. As we rebuild, we will fight for stronger protections and better enforcement of our labour and employment laws, and stronger income supports for Canadians who cannot work.

Of course, many of our opponents see opportunity in this crisis as well, and they are already looking for ways to further weaken and privatize public services. Investing in public infrastructure and services will be key to our economic recovery. We must ensure every penny we invest in our recovery goes to rebuilding communities and fighting inequality and climate change – not to padding corporate coffers. That’s why we will fight against public-private-partnerships and for-profit infrastructure arrangements through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Our governments will be making significant decisions in the months ahead. As Canada’s largest union, we have a major role in making sure they make the right ones. One thing is clear: we can’t just return to the way things used to be. We deserve better. My recovery puts people, public services, and our communities first. How about you?