Brothers and Sisters,
On behalf of myself and the SMART General Executive Council, I’d like to wish all our Canadian brothers and sisters, and your families, a happy Canada Day.
Canada Day commemorates the day of Canada’s Confederation in 1867 – and this year, the holiday arrives on the back of major progress for our union.
On March 28, the Government of Canada released the 2023 Federal Budget, which included strong investments to build Canada’s green economy, as well as one of the strongest definitions of prevailing wage in Canadian history. By tying incentives for tax credits to a prevailing wage that incorporates union compensation, including benefits and pension contributions, this Federal Budget will raise workers’ living standards and create good-paying, middle-class jobs as we build our green energy future.
The federal government continues to invest in the Union Training Innovation Program, which provides new funding streams for our local unions and training centers. And Canada’s net-zero goal, which requires the retrofitting of all buildings across our country, will put sheet metal workers and roofers on jobs for years to come.
These are huge victories that could not have been won without the perseverance and advocacy of our Canadian members. But we still have much to achieve.
Canada’s green energy goals will create a workforce demand that will require our union to grow. In order to do so, we must collaborate with the government to bring more workers into the skilled trades; organize in municipalities and provinces across our nation; and make sure we are present in every community, ready to lift Canadians of all backgrounds into a union career.
Workers in every industry and sector are fighting for better treatment and working conditions, and we all have a role to play in helping those workers achieve the freedom and dignity of a union career. That includes our Indigenous brothers and sisters, women, people of color and other communities that have been marginalized throughout Canada’s history. When we build a labour movement that is inclusive and welcoming of all Canadian workers, we will be truly unstoppable.
Finally, as you celebrate Canada Day with loved ones, I want to encourage all of us to honour the generations of Canadians who have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms and democracy.
Happy Canada Day – enjoy the holiday, and please stay safe.