The summer flew by quickly and it’s already the Labour Day long weekend, signifying a new school year. I wanted to take the opportunity to wish everybody a Happy Labour Day.
Labour Day is a time to reflect on the nature of work and working conditions. It is a day to recognize the labour of people who built this country and the labour organizations that have fought and continue to fight for the rights of workers.
Every benefit that workers enjoy is due to the hard work of the labour movement – vacation, sick days, set work hours, acceptable working conditions, et cetera; these are all possible because they were fought for and won by working people throughout the years.
The COVID-19 pandemic drew attention to underlying systematic issues like gender inequality in the workforce and brought attention to the importance of all workers throughout our community.
Health-care workers, grocery store clerks, seniors care workers, and child-care workers – these are all people who were put in a vulnerable situation and worked way beyond their call of duty. Their sacrifice, courage and dedication made it possible for us to move forward.
We have seen the precarious nature of many jobs and the impact these jobs have on workers – burnout, stress and mental health struggles are only a few examples, and often these jobs are done at less than a living wage. Without paid sick days, dental and pharmacare programs, accessible health care and child care, workers are being left behind.
The current cost of living is putting many of our parents, friends or grandparents at risk of being unable to make next month’s rent or pay for their next meal.
We can do so much better than this. We must learn from these lessons and build our economy in a way that works for more people.
All workers deserve to earn a fair living wage, frontline workers should have access to the resources and supports they need to work safely, and we should have social safety nets that are there for workers from all types of work, however they need it.
Labour Day originated because working people who were struggling in unfair conditions fought for their bar of dignity to rise. Worker’s rights are always at risk and in 2022, it is more important than ever that we take the opportunity to show respect to our fellow workers and recognize the work that was done to ensure workers are protected.
Everyone deserves better working conditions and by standing together, we can create a stronger, safer, fairer and more resilient community. Let’s all remember that and respect the hardworking people of Canada and the work they do every day.
Thank you to those who stand up again and again for everyday people.
Rachel Blaney is MP for North Island-Powell River.