Ontario unions are marking Labour Day with the launch of a campaign calling for prescription drug coverage for all Canadians and with a “call for fairness for all workers through much-needed amendments to Bill 148.”
In Cornwall, workers, unions and community leaders will gather at Lamoureux Park September 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Canada’s unions have fought hard to win health insurance coverage for our members,” said Louise Lanctot, President of the Cornwall and District Labour Council, “But we’re not stopping there.”
An estimated 3.5 million Canadians can’t afford to fill their prescriptions, she added. Many are splitting their pills or skipping days to stretch the prescrip- tions they do fill, she said.
“Nobody should be forced to choose between paying for groceries and paying for the medication they need,” said Elaine MacDonald of the Health Coalition. “That’s why we’re working to win a universal prescription drug plan that covers all Canadians regardless of their income, age or where they live.”
“Without amendments to Bill 148, many Ontario workers will be left out of the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act,” said Ms. Lanctot. “We are working hard to demand the changes that will stop the rise of precarious, insecure work and set the conditions for decent work for all.”
While the Ontario government has committed to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, higher wages are just one part of creating decent work, the unions say.
“We’re calling for changes that would make it easier to join a union, such as card-check certification and we’re demanding changes that set a fair standard in the workplace for all workers whether they are unionized or not.“
The Pharmacare campaign website, www. aplanforeveryone.ca, launches on Labour Day.