VANCOUVER – “USMCA supports millions of middle-class jobs in Canada, Mexico and the United States. It includes strong labour provisions that provide protections for workers and help businesses thrive in Canada and throughout North America,” states Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, met with union representatives to discuss the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the ways in which the modernized trade deal is good for Canadians and Canadian workers.
The USMCA labour chapter is a significant improvement on the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as it includes a number of key labour provisions with enforceable obligations to address issues related to migrant workers, forced or compulsory labour, violence against union members, and gender.
This chapter will serve as a means not only of improving working conditions throughout North America, but also of ensuring a level playing field for Canadian workers and businesses by committing USMCA Parties to high labour standards, including with respect to minimum wages, and preventing them waiving their domestic labour laws in order to encourage trade or investment.
Importantly, the chapter also includes unprecedented protections against gender-based discrimination, specifically with regard to sexual orientation, sexual harassment, gender identity, caregiving responsibilities and wage discrimination.
Minister Hajdu highlighted that the USMCA maintains the tariff-free market access from the original NAFTA, and includes new rules for preferential trade in North America that will strengthen our commercial relationship and provide important stability and predictability for Canadian businesses and workers.
Organized labour is critical to a strong middle class and to creating the kind of economic growth that benefits everyone. This means more good well-paying jobs for Canadians, and more affordable goods and services for Canadians.