Unifor: 2016 budget a good start, but auto and aerospace investment needed

Thursday March 31, 2016
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Mar. 31, 2016 - The latest federal budget marks a “good start, but much work remains,” says Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector, as it urges the government to move quickly to develop long-term programs to revitalize the economy, including investing in Canada’s auto and aerospace sectors.

“It makes sense for this first budget to emphasize projects and programs where the money can flow right away, but Canadian families need longer term solutions on which they can build their futures,” Unifor national president Jerry Dias said.

“We are disappointed that there were no changes made to the Automotive Investment Fund, beyond extending it another three years, and no mention of the vital aerospace industry beyond the space program,” he continued.

Dias said Unifor will play an active role in the review of the Automotive Investment Fund announced in the budget, and urged the federal government to replace the fund’s current system of taxable loans in the auto sector with a program that is non-taxable and not loan-based.

“The industry consensus is that this is the way to go, and all levels of government need to recognize this if Canada is to continue having a strong auto sector, our largest exporter,” Dias said.

Dias said no plan to help Canada’s middle class is complete without investments in both auto and aerospace.

“A strategic investment in aerospace leader Bombardier would meet many of the goals set out in this budget: supporting innovation and greening the economy,” Dias said.

Dias welcomed news of the reopening and expansion of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, as well as investments in public transit and to revitalize VIA Rail and improve rail safety. He said plans to improve training programs, including working with unions to expand apprenticeship programs, are also welcomed.

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