Dear Omar Alghabra,
I am writing to urge you to support thousands of workers across Canada in the aerospace manufacturing sector by implementing Unifor’s COVID-19 recovery plan for this vital industry.
The aerospace industry sustains more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs across Canada and creates more than $25 billion in GDP every year. Workers in this industry design, build and maintain the aircraft that bring business people, tourists and goods and services of all kinds to Canadians. From airline and defence support, to procurement and assembly, Unifor’s 11,000 members in the aerospace industry perform work that keeps our economy moving.
COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the lives of workers in this industry. As aircraft fleets remain grounded amid new pandemic-related travel restrictions, the situation is worsening. Airlines have slashed capacity by as much as 90 per cent, introducing devastating layoffs at airports, airlines and navigation services. These layoffs will have a cascading effect on aerospace workers.
A strong aerospace manufacturing sector must play a critical role in our post-pandemic economy. It will propel us forward with the high quality, high value jobs we need in the future.
Every region across Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, has experienced pandemic-related layoffs in the aerospace sector with many more looming on the horizon. Without government action, these jobs are now in jeopardy, risking our domestic capacity for advanced manufacturing.
Unifor has presented its aerospace recovery plan to the Federal government, including actions you must take immediately to support Canada’s aerospace workers. These range from strong “Buy Canadian” policies that promote made-in-Canada procurement to expanding research and development to fund new and emerging technologies that will reduce carbon emissions and propel the industry in to the future. Crucially, the plan calls for strict conditions on funding so that government funds benefit workers rather than padding corporate salaries and shareholders.
Clearly, there is no shortage of ideas, only political will.
Canada needs a plan in order to “build back better.” That plan must include a strategy for advanced manufacturing in the aerospace. I urge you to review and implement Unifor’s national aerospace recovery plan. Our future depends on it.
I look forward to your response about how you plan to support Canada’s aerospace workers.
maryellen Mcilmoyle m3k 1e2