Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance on employment – Sherbrooke, Quebec

Speech

June 29, 2022

Hi everyone. I am very happy to be here today. I would first like to acknowledge that the lands on which we are meeting are part of the traditional unceded territory of the Abénakis nation.

I see Mr. Pierre Pomerleau, Director of Finance and Administration. Thank you, Pierre. Thank you to your team and, in particular, all the extraordinary workers at Royer. It was really inspiring for me to see what you do here, and it’s a great pleasure for me to be here with my colleague, Marie‑Claude Bibeau, and to be in the riding of another dear colleague, Élisabeth Brière.

Royer is a proud Canadian company. Thousands of workers across the country and members of the Canadian Armed Forces proudly wear boots made here in Sherbrooke, Canada.

Royer is one of thousands of companies that have received support from our Government with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to get through the worst months of the pandemic.

And that support—that allowed Royer to get through the worst recession since the Great Depression—worked. Canada has now recovered 117 per cent of the jobs lost during the worst months of the pandemic. In the United States, that figure is 96 per cent.

The latest employment figures show a national unemployment rate of 5.1 per cent. That is the lowest unemployment level recorded by Statistics Canada.

The unemployment rate in Quebec is 4.2 per cent. Here, in Sherbrooke, it is 3.2 per cent.

But I know that a strong labour market for workers also presents challenges to businesses. And our Government understands that.

This was one of the priorities in the Budget I tabled in April. We are investing in the determined and talented workers who are already here, like the workers here at Royer.

We are making it easier for our workers to move to where the jobs are, anywhere in Canada.

We are investing in the skills that Canadian workers need to fill the good-paying jobs of today and tomorrow.

This year’s Budget will make it easier for the skilled immigrants that our economy needs to make Canada their home.

On immigration, I have good news. At a time when the world’s major economies are desperate for skilled workers, Canada has had, since 2016, the fastest growing population in the G7.

Access to a skilled and diverse workforce is certainly part of a healthy economy.

Unfortunately, this labour shortage is harming the world’s industrialized economies and supply chains. Canada is no exception.

This is in addition to the inflation we are seeing around the world and that is hitting Canadians’ pocketbooks.

About ten days ago, I presented our government’s plan to make life more affordable for Canadians. This plan includes measures that will come into effect this year:

  • A 10-per cent increase in Old Age Security for seniors 75 and over, starting this summer;
  • A dental care program, starting with children under 12, also starting this year;
  • More child care spaces for families in Quebec;
  • A $500 payment to help people who rent and who are struggling with the cost of housing;
  • Again this year, key programs like the Canada Child Benefit and the Guaranteed Income Supplement are indexed to keep pace with the changing cost of living; and
  • An enhanced Canada Workers Benefit that will put up to $2,400 additional dollars into the pockets of low-income Canadian families starting this year. This will make it more worthwhile for people to work, and will make life more affordable for our lowest paid – and very often most essential – workers.

Just as we have helped Canadians and Canadian businesses like Royer get through the pandemic, we will be there to help them face the challenges ahead.

I would like to conclude by saying that the slogan I have seen here at Royer – “respect for work” – is an excellent message and it is truly one of the key messages of our Government.

Respect for work is the foundation of our economic policy, our approach to Canadians, to Quebecers, and I am very pleased to be here at Royer, to see the workers at such an inspiring factory that truly demonstrates respect for work.

Thank you very much.

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