O’Toole would build a social safety net out of hot air

September 8, 2021

Conservatives release platform costing, but Canadians already have the tally on broken Conservative promises.

Canada’s unions are warning that a huge fiscal hole in Erin O’Toole’s platform and proposals that leave workers behind would put Canada’s already weakened social safety net at risk.

Experts have been pointing to how the Conservatives’ unrealistic growth projections create a gigantic fiscal gap in their plan.

“Mr. O’Toole’s risky plan not only has a large fiscal hole at its heart, his policies seem to be written by his friends at Uber and his buddies on Bay Street,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “He’s trying to build a social safety net out of hot air and empty promises.”

Bruske pointed to O’Toole’s pledge to cancel agreements with provinces to create new child care spaces and his proposal to create an “Employee Savings Account” as two prime examples of how Conservative policies would weaken Canada’s social safety net.

Workers – mostly women – faced an impossible choice when schools and daycares closed. Many were forced to put their working lives on hold. What is Mr. O’Toole’s answer to parents?” asked Bruske. “After working women fought and struggled for decades for child care, Mr. O’Toole is vowing to tear up agreements for more high-quality affordable child care spaces.”

In a separate move that further weakens Canada’s social safety net, the Conservatives’ proposed “Employee Savings Account” would deny some gig economy workers real access to a pension and EI, forcing them to rely on costly financial products sold by banks and financial institutions instead.

“Mr. O’Toole would not only chip away at the foundations of EI and the CPP, he would entrench a two-tier system where low-paid workers have to accept second-class status,” said Bruske. “The pandemic taught us we must expand EI coverage to all workers, yet Conservatives would instead weaken the social safety net workers rely on.”

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