Canada’s Building Trades Unions Congratulate the Federal Government on USMCA

Oct 22, 2018

The Government of Canada has negotiated hard and struck a deal that’s good for Canadian workers in the renegotiated United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA). Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) congratulate the Government of Canada on their assiduousness to ensure that the interests of Canadian workers were put to the forefront.

“The USCMA – the renegotiated NAFTA deal – was a result of Prime Minister Trudeau and his government’s efforts to stay at the bargaining table until a progressive trade agreement could be reached that worked for all three countries,” said Robert Blakely, Canadian Operating Officer, of CBTU. “This deal includes a progressive and fully enforceable labour chapter – language much stronger than anything that was found in NAFTA. It ensures the benefits of growth through trade will be shared more equitably amongst workers in Canada, and the US and Mexico.”

The USCMA also includes strong language related to labour throughout, requiring all three countries to commit to protecting and promoting internationally recognized labour principles and rights, including the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, the elimination of child and forced labour and laws ensuring acceptable work conditions with respect to minimum wages, hours of work and occupational health and safety. It requires measures to protect against discrimination on the basis of gender, gender identity and sexual orientation, including stronger provisions than have been found in any other trade deal. In these ways, the USCMA is an upgrade from NAFTA. It also includes the removal of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement Clause which allowed private investors to sue governments for decisions that hurt profits, even when those decisions were in the public interest.

“These changes will protect high wage workers – and all workers’ rights, including the language on recognizing Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, something that is a key to a progressive and inclusive trade deal,” said Blakely. “Canada’s Building Trades Unions believe that the USCMA will not only allow Canadian businesses to grow by opening our markets, but gives workers a fair chance to share in the benefits of free trade.”

About CBTU

Canada’s Building Trades Unions is an alliance of 15 international unions in the construction, maintenance and fabrication industries that collectively represent over half a million skilled trades workers in Canada. Each year, our unions and our signatory contractor partners invest over $300 million in private sector money to fund and operate over 175 apprenticeship training and education facilities across Canada that produce the safest, most highly trained and productive skilled craft workers found anywhere in the world. Canada’s Building Trades Unions represent members who work in more than 60 different trades and occupations, and generate 14 per cent of Canada’s GDP.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Kate Walsh
Director of Communications, CBTU