CUPE is pleased to see Budget 2018 announce forthcoming pay equity legislation which will apply to federally-regulated workers and federal contractors. CUPE has urged the federal government to introduce proactive federal pay equity legislation consistent with the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force.
CUPE is encouraged to see Budget 2018 announce the introduction of dedicated “use it or lose it” parental leave for a second parent for a maximum of five weeks. This will help promote greater gender equality in parenting and employment. However, we have concerns that the plan won’t be available to low income parents, or workers in precarious jobs, who either don’t qualify for EI or can’t afford to live off the low benefit level. We hope the government will expand eligibility and improve the benefit when they implement this new leave. CUPE has urged the government to provide 12 weeks as a number of other countries do and ensure that single parents are provided with similar benefits.
Budget 2018 is billed as a gender equality budget which also includes a “gender budget plus” analysis. The strong emphasis and actions on gender equality are certainly welcomed. However, to really make a difference, these measures need to be combined with other actions that will improve working and living standards for the vast majority of Canadian women, like a national affordable childcare plan, additional funding for social services, and introduction of a $15 per hour national minimum wage.