• Canada’s unions call federal budget bill a boon for workers
    by cstdenis on October 30, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Canada’s unions welcome measures in Monday’s federal budget implementation act that provide important progress for working people, including plans to achieve pay equity, provide paid domestic violence leave, protect workers during contract retendering, and otherwise elevate Canada’s labour standards.Introducing a new Pay Equity Act will bring in long-awaited legislation requiring federally-regulated employers to create proactive pay equity plans that will begin to address Canada’s gender wage gap. The government also announced the establishment of a Pay Equity Commissioner to independently oversee implementation and hold employers accountable.“Canada’s unions have been fighting for proactive pay equity legislation for over a decade and we’re glad to see the government take meaningful action to close Canada’s shameful gender pay gap,” said CLC President, Hassan Yussuff.For all federally-regulated employers with ten or more workers, the new legislation will adapt existing compliance frameworks to include pay equity, and set out specific timelines for implementation and compulsory maintenance reviews.Changes to Part III of the Canada Labour Code were also included in the omnibus bill, and are being heralded by Canada’s unions as an important modernization of federal labour standards in Canada. These changes will restrict exploitation by prohibiting employers from misclassifying workers and paying them less, simply because they work for a temp agency or on a part-time, casual or term basis.Canada’s unions were also pleased with new measures that will prevent employers from using contract flipping as a means of undermining the wages, benefits, and job security of workers.“The Canada Labour Code used to be upheld as the gold standard across the Country but federal labour standards were significantly eroded over a decade by the Harper government,” said Yussuff. “Providing additional vacation time and leave provisions, as well as new scheduling notice protections, are important steps that will lift employment standards for Canadian workers,” said Yussuff.After an intensive campaign by Canada’s unions, survivors of domestic violence working in the federal sector will now receive five days of paid leave. This will help to set a national standard as many provinces move to allow people experiencing violence at home to seek the support and services they need to help keep themselves and their children safe.“Canada’s unions will continue to push to elevate labour standards for everyone working in Canada,” said Yussuff. “Along with this week’s announcements, immediate action to establish a $15 federal minimum wage would raise the bar across the country.” Issue:  Human Rights & Equality Workers with Disabilities Young Workers Jobs and the Economy Gender Pay Gap Social and Economic Policy […]

  • Canada’s unions applaud asbestos ban regulations
    by cstdenis on October 18, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Canada’s unions applaud the federal government for introducing regulations to ban the import, export, manufacture, sale and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products. The regulations, announced in December 2016 will come into force on December 30, 2018.“This is a critical step on the long road to banning asbestos, and will, without a doubt, save lives for generations to come,” said Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff. The new regulations, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA), prohibit the import, sale and use of asbestos, the manufacture, import, sale and use of products containing asbestos, as well as the export of asbestos and asbestos-containing products, with a limited number of exceptions. Combined, this is a historic step to protect the health of Canadian workers and the public, and to address Canada’s history as an exporter of this deadly substance. With these regulations, Canada now joins 55 countries that have banned the use of asbestos. Yussuff said that it will be crucial for protection from exposure to extend to everyone living in Canada, including those living in First Nations housing filled with asbestos-ridden vermiculite insulation. “Because these diseases have a long latency period, the danger is not over, but this is the beginning of the end. Now we need the provinces and territories to show the same leadership that the federal government has shown and move quickly to take stock of where asbestos is, harmonize regulation around disposal and remediation, and ensure a comprehensive response,” he said.“We can all breathe easier. The introduction of these regulations in a timely manner is the result of years of advocacy and hard work by people dedicated to safer, healthier workplaces. Today, I celebrate and thank the government for giving the next generation of Canadians a better future, free from the pain and suffering caused by asbestos,” said Yussuff. A robust enforcement strategy to ensure compliance with these new regulations will be important to a successful implementation and to addressing the legacy of asbestos-contaminated workplaces.“We look forward to continuing to work with the federal government on the broader whole-of-government strategy to protect Canadians from the harms of asbestos,” added Yussuff. Issue:  Health and Safety […]

  • Government must enact viable solutions to end child labour
    by cstdenis on October 16, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    On Monday, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE) tabled the report “A Call to Action: Ending the Use of All Forms of Child Labour in Supply Chains.” This report follows the Subcommittee on International Human Rights’ (SDIR) study on Child Labour and Modern Day Slavery. “The inexcusable use of child labour and slavery in the operations and supply chains of Canadian companies has to stop,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “Although we are pleased that the Subcommittee’s report recognizes the importance of eliminating these practices globally and proposes a series of recommendations, the report does not go far enough in proposing a comprehensive and concrete plan to address this problem.” Child and forced labour represent some of the most egregious labour and human rights violations, yet these practices are still widely used. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that in 2016, there were over 40.3 million victims of modern slavery and 152 million children in child labour worldwide.  In 2000, Canada ratified ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour, and in 2016 ratified ILO Convention 138 on minimum age. Despite these important steps and growing national and international calls to action, including from the G20 and the UN General Assembly, child and forced labour continue to plague the supply chains of Canadian companies. World Vision estimated that in 2016, Canada imported $34 billion worth of goods that were at risk of being produced with child or forced labour. “Governments have an important role to play in ensuring that human rights are protected and that victims of these inhumane labour practices have access to remedy,” said Yussuff. “Our government must live up to its international commitments by developing a comprehensive toolkit that includes legislation mandating human rights due diligence throughout the operations of Canadian companies.” The CLC supports the Committee report recommendations, which include addressing child and forced labour by:  prioritizing the elimination of child labour and forced labour in Canada’s international assistance;improving access to quality education for children and adults;supporting law enforcement and judicial systems;including discussion of child labour and forced labour in all free trade negotiations;building capacity of Canadian businesses to monitor their supply chains;advancing initiatives to motivate business to eliminate child and forced labour in their supply chains; andexamining Canada’s import regime and procurement policies as levers to eliminate the use of child labour.The elimination of child and forced labour requires a comprehensive approach that includes a package of tools and measures. This package must include the immediate appointment of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise that, as announced by the government last January, is independent and has robust investigatory powers. It must also include legislation mandating human rights due diligence in the business operations and supply chains of Canadian enterprises. The government must also strengthen policy coherence in free trade and investment agreements, general preferential tariffs, international assistance and public procurement. Countries that have recently implemented or are in the process of implementing supply chain legislation include the UK, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia. While there is a range of legislative approaches, international experts argue that in order to be effective, such legislation must address all human rights, and include both mandatory disclosure provisions as well as mandatory human rights due diligence that is linked to corporate liability.  The CLC will continue to call on the government to take the necessary steps to combat child labour and slavery globally, particularly within our own supply chains. You can find the full CLC submission here. Issue:  Around the World Corporate Accountability […]

  • CLC President receives honorary doctorate from Ryerson University
    by cstdenis on October 11, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    CLC President Hassan Yussuff received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws (honoris causa) from Ryerson University on Thursday in Toronto. “I’m grateful and I’m humbled to receive an honorary degree from this important institution,” said Yussuff in his Convocation address to graduates from Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management and the Yeates School of Graduate Studies.Shortly after immigrating from Guyana, Hassan became a union member in 1976. He was elected union chairperson in his workplace at the age of 19. He climbed through the ranks of the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) before becoming the organization’s first Human Rights Director. He went on to serve 15 years as Executive Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress before being elected in 2014 as the first person of colour to lead Canada’s labour movement. His lifelong commitment to human rights has defined his work as a labour activist.Yussuff reminded graduates that great leaders work to transform the society we all live in, rather than just operating within it.“You are the new generation of Canadian leaders. I encourage you to prioritize diversity and inclusion, and to engage in public affairs,” he said.He referred to the recent examples of the #MeToo movement, Idle No More and Black Lives Matter to highlight the impact of working together in the pursuit of progressive change.“Progress happens when we work for it together,” said Yussuff. “Believe me when I say never give up because that’s how you will change the world. Thank you for letting me be part of your special day.”Congratulations, Hassan! […]

  • Decent work a priority for Canada’s unions
    by cstdenis on October 4, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    October 7th is the World Day for Decent Work and this year’s global theme is “Change the Rules.”  Around the world and here in Canada, unions mark the Day for Decent Work by organising, campaigning and advocating for improved working conditions for all workers.The Canadian Labour Congress is conducting campaigns calling on the federal government to address key issues affecting working people; calling for a change of the rules to create decent work and dignity for all Canadians.“Improving the lives of all workers is always a top priority for Canada’s unions. The current climate of precarity and cut backs in Canada makes it more important than ever to advocate for good jobs to ensure stability and dignity for every Canadian worker,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “We believe that decent work must include access to affordable child care, bankruptcy protection for workers’ pensions and proactive pay equity legislation, just to name a few.”On this Day for Decent Work, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to prioritize access to decent work in Canada by taking the following steps:Restore the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, indexing it to wage growth, and bring back full employment as a primary policy target;End wage discrimination and adopt strong, proactive pay equity legislation incorporating the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force. Women’s wages shouldn’t come at a discount, but the gender pay gap in Canada hasn’t improved in decades. In fact, for many women it’s getting worse. Making pay equity the law would ensure different jobs are compared for their value in the workplace and evaluated based on skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions, leaving no room for gender discrimination;Reform bankruptcy laws to include protection for workers’ pensions and benefits.  Workers trade higher wages today in exchange for a pension in retirement – it’s wrong to force them to the back of the line when an employer goes bankrupt;Make workplaces safe by strengthening federal legislation on sexual harassment and violence. Sexual harassment and violence remains a very serious barrier to women’s equality, especially in the workplace. Sexual harassment and violence can have serious consequences on women's physical, emotional and mental health, and on their work performance. It can compromise their ability to advance in the workplace and even lead to job loss;Fix the child care crisis and commit to long-term funding for high-quality, public, universal, affordable child care. Access to quality, affordable child care is about economic justice for women. Child care makes it possible for women to get a decent job, support their families, build a career, and further their education or skills training; andPhase-out coal power through progressive policy that keeps people and communities at the center. The Just Transition Task Force for Canadian Coal-Power Workers and Communities will develop recommendations aimed at influencing Canada’s plans to phase-out coal power. These will include helping workers find comparable employment through retraining programs and resources to help affected communities transition their local economy.Decent work means equal opportunities for everyone to get work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development, and social integration. Issue:  Health and Safety Violence Human Rights & Equality Women Jobs and the Economy Green Jobs Gender Pay Gap Social and Economic Policy Role of Unions Child Care Climate Chang […]

  • Along with key gains in the USMCA, Canada’s unions raise concern
    by cstdenis on October 1, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    Canada’s unions say the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) represents some points of progress, but are raising concern over protections for some Canadian workers.“Workers across the country will be happy to learn that NAFTA’s Chapter 11 has finally been eliminated from this trade agreement,” said Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff. “Decades of unfairness have cost Canada over $300 million in penalties and fees and made it clear that the investor-state dispute settlement clause was working against our national interest.”Canada’s unions are also pleased to see the side agreements on labour moved into the main agreement, now subject to a state-to-state dispute resolution process. “The USMCA gets it right on labour provisions, including provisions to protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of gender,” said Yussuff.Protections for the Canadian auto industry, including exemptions from tariffs and labour value requirements, were welcomed. The agreement also maintains exemptions for cultural industries and expands these to include digital industries.Intellectual property provisions will be strengthened under this new agreement, extending pharmaceutical drug patent protection to 10 years. “Drug costs will rise as a result of this deal. Now more than ever, Canada needs a universal, single-payer prescription drug program to cancel out the impact of mounting costs on Canadian families,” said Yussuff.Access to Canadian dairy was a focus through the negotiations. Under the new USMCA, US dairy producers will have access to 3.59% of Canada’s domestic milk market. “The federal government must take necessary measures and provide compensation to workers who will be negatively impacted by these concessions. Canada’s unions are concerned and seeking more details on provisions around egg and poultry exports and imports,” said Yussuff.Yussuff expressed disappointment that the elimination of US tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum products was not part of the new agreement. “The illegal steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the US earlier this year should have been lifted with this agreement, and I urge the Canadian government to redouble its efforts to eliminate these tariffs,” he said.Read the 13 facts you need to know about USMCA here. […]

  • Canadian and European trade unions: EU not following through with promises on CETA review
    by cstdenis on September 25, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Upcoming meeting in Montreal provides an opportunity to address growing concernsOn the first anniversary of CETA’s implementation, trade unions on both sides of the Atlantic are warning that the trade deal is not a ‘model’ agreement and say it is time for an immediate review.The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) are calling on European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Canadian Trade Minister Jim Carr to address the European Commission’s refusal to reinforce the enforceability of CETA’s labour rights provisions. This situation persists despite requests from trade unions and from the Canadian Government. The two senior officials are set to meet in Montreal on September 26 and 27. “CETA was presented as a new model trade deal,” said Liina Carr, ETUC Confederal Secretary. “But the European Commission is refusing to address the legitimate concerns of working people. Labour rights are still not as enforceable as are investors’ rights. Furthermore, we are still waiting for EU trade policy to promote decent jobs, protect and enhance labour rights, and protect public services. The EU needs to deliver the change it promised.”“Without effective and enforceable rules for labour and environmental provisions in trade agreements, there is no progressive trade,” said Hassan Yussuff, CLC President. “The EU government must honour its international labour obligations and enforce respect of the CETA provisions with binding and enforceable penalties for violations against workers.”Amidst massive public protests at the time, CETA was adopted with a ‘Joint Interpretative Instrument’ intended to reassure citizens about its impacts on environmental and labour standards. This agreement included a promise to start an early review of the trade agreement – which still hasn’t taken place to date. Issue:  Around the World Trade, Investment and Security […]

  • More than 80 organizations support universal pharmacare in Canada
    by cstdenis on September 24, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    A diverse coalition representing health care providers, non-profit organizations, workers, seniors, patients and academics has come together to issue a statement of consensus principles for the establishment of National Pharmacare in Canada.Our coalition believes that National Pharmacare should be a seamless extension of the existing universal health care system in Canada, which covers medically necessary physician and hospital services, and therefore operate in harmony with the principles of the Canada Health Act.National Pharmacare should be governed by the following principles:UniversalityCoverage for all residents of Canada on equal terms and conditions.Public, Single-Payer AdministrationA publicly administered and delivered program that is integrated with the Medicare systems in which it operates, directly accountable to the public it serves, and leverages single-payer procurement to maximize purchasing power for the entire Canadian population.AccessibilityAccess to covered medications without financial barriers or other impediments.ComprehensivenessCoverage for as many medications as judged safe and effective by scientific evidence and based on the best value for money.Ensure the public servant experts who select medications for coverage are appropriately insulated from political pressures and marketing campaigns.Portable CoverageContinuous and consistent coverage for residents who move within Canada.In addition to the five principles above, our coalition believes that the federal government must offer leadership in order to achieve National Pharmacare. This must include substantial funding commitments, sufficient to induce provincial and territorial governments to opt-in to the national program.Add your voice now www.aplanforeveryone.caConsensus principles signatoriesNational organizationsAction Canada for Sexual Health and RightsCanada Without PovertyCanadian Association of Community Health CentresCanadian Association of Social WorkersCanadian Association of Retired PersonsCanadian Association of Retired TeachersCanadian Association of University TeachersCanadian Centre for Policy AlternativesCanadian Doctors for MedicareCanadian Federation of Nurses UnionsCanadian Health CoalitionCanadian HIV/AIDS Legal NetworkCanadian Labour CongressCanadian Nurses AssociationCanadian Nursing Students’ AssociationCanadian Union of Public EmployeesCanadian Women’s FoundationCitizens for Public JusticeCollege of Family Physicians of CanadaCommunity Food Centres CanadaCongress of Union Retirees of CanadaCouncil of CanadiansInterParesLeadNowNational Farmers UnionNational Pensioners FederationNational Union of Public and General EmployeesProfessional Institute of the Public Service of CanadaSEIU HealthcareSeniors’ VoiceUnited Food & Commercial WorkersUniforUnited Steelworkers of CanadaWomen’s Shelters Canada / Hébergement femmes CanadaProvincial & territorial organizationsAlberta Association of Community Health CentresAlberta Federation of LabourAlberta Federation of Union RetireesAlberta Union of Provincial EmployeesAlternatives NorthAlliance for Healthier Communities – OntarioBritish Columbia Association of Community Health CentresBritish Columbia College of Family PhysiciansBritish Columbia Federation of Retired Union MembersBritish Columbia Nurses’ UnionCentrale des syndicats du QuébecCoalition solidarité santéFriends of MedicareHealth Coalition of Newfoundland and LabradorManitoba Association of Community HealthManitoba Federation of LabourManitoba Health CoalitionManitoba Nurses UnionMédecins québécois pour le régime publicNew Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice Inc. / Front commun pour la justice social du Nouveau Brunswick Inc.New Brunswick Health CoalitionNew Brunswick Nurses UnionNorthern Territories Federation of LabourNova Scotia Association of Community Health CentresNova Scotia Federation of LabourNova Scotia Health CoalitionNova Scotia Nurses’ UnionOntario Federation of LabourOntario Nurses’ AssociationPEI Federation of LabourPEI Health CoalitionPEI Nurses’ UnionPlanned Parenthood – Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Health CentrePublic Health Association of British ColumbiaRegistered Nurses’ Association of OntarioRegistered Nurses’ Union of Newfoundland and LabradorSaskatchewan Federation of LabourSaskatchewan Union of NursesSexual Health Nova ScotiaUnion des consommateursUnited Nurses of AlbertaYukon Federation of LabourThis list was last updated on October 18, 2018. […]

  • CLC – ETUC Joint Statement on the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter in CETA
    by cstdenis on September 11, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Trade unions in the EU and Canada are united in our call for progressive trade deals that promote decent jobs, protect and enhance labour rights, protect public services and lead to fair distribution of wealth. We worked together throughout negotiations on CETA to call for the deal to respect these objectives.CETA has been provisionally applied since September 2017. Both the EU and Canada agreed to an early review “with a view to the effective enforceability of CETA provisions on trade and labour and trade and the environment” as stated in the Joint Interpretative Instrument (JII) at point 10.[1] However, no progress has been made in this regard.In July 2017, the European Commission launched a consultation on the implementation and enforcement of Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters in EU Free Trade Agreements. The ETUC replied to the consultation in October 2017. The Commission eventually issued a paper outlining 15 action points to revamp the TSD chapter. However, the ETUC deeply regrets that the Commission has brushed away the possibility of introducing a sanction mechanism in the case of persistent breaches of labour rights within EU trade agreements, as has been consistently proposed by the ETUC and other stakeholders.We note that Canada has been committed to a sanctions-based approach regarding labour rights in its free trade agreements. The EU’s inaction in reviewing CETA is already undermining effective enforceability of labour rights by Canada in third countries with which the EU and Canada have free trade agreements. The EU should finally start to engage seriously to ensure that commitments made by both parties in the TSD chapter to respect core ILO standards and promote the Decent Work agenda become effectively enforceable.The EU cannot continue to delay reviewing the TSD chapter. Commitments were made by the EU and Canada in the JII to pursue fairer and more progressive trade and investment agreements. The ETUC and CLC call on the EU to join Canada and honour the commitment taken in the JII and start the review of the trade and sustainable development provisions as soon as possible. [1] Review and Stakeholder Consultation: a) Commitments related to trade and sustainable development, trade and labour, and trade and environment are subject to dedicated and binding assessment and review mechanisms. Canada, the European Union, and its Member States are fully committed to make effective use of these mechanisms throughout the life of the agreement. Furthermore, they are committed to initiating an early review of these provisions, including with a view to the effective enforceability of CETA provisions on trade and labour and trade and the environment. Issue:  Around the World Trade, Investment and Security […]

  • Canada’s unions step up pharmacare campaign this Labour Day
    by cstdenis on August 31, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    This Labour Day, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to get it right on pharmacare by creating a single-payer, universal prescription drug program for Canada.Labour Day offers Canadians an important opportunity to reflect on the legacy of unions, to take stock of our progress and to commit ourselves to working together for a fairer future. Canada’s unions work to raise the standards for every worker, from higher wages and pensions, to better safety standards. This year, unions are working to improve the health of everyone in Canada by campaigning for universal pharmacare.Since launching a national campaign on pharmacare last year, the Canadian Labour Congress has seen significant progress, including the creation of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare by the federal government last spring.“We’ve gained incredible momentum on pharmacare,” said Hassan Yussuff, CLC President. “We’ve been working closely with health coalitions, nurses unions, business groups, and a variety of medical professionals to start this overdue conversation in cities and towns right across the country. What we’ve heard time and again from Canadians is that pharmacare is the unfinished business of health care and it’s about time we get this done.”Yussuff said that proposals by the insurance industry and Big Pharma won’t save Canadians, businesses or government money, but they will help increase those companies’ already high profits.“More than 100,000 people across Canada have taken action to support universal pharmacare, and those numbers are growing daily,” said Yussuff. “We’ve said all along that patchwork coverage that varies from one province to another isn’t working for people in Canada, and a fill-in-the-gaps approach to pharmacare just isn’t good enough.”The Advisory Council has launched both online and public consultations on pharmacare, and Canadians should take the opportunity to send their feedback to the government. Studies have consistently shown a majority of Canadians are struggling to afford to pay for their prescription medications, or worry about being able to afford it in the future.“We’ve made great strides towards universal pharmacare in Canada. The government is listening, so now is our chance to get it right,” said Yussuff. “The right way forward – the only way that pharmacare will really work in Canada – is with a single-payer, universal program that covers everyone with a health card and delivers savings through bulk-buying.”National pharmacare is both sound economic and social policy, that will have a positive impact on our communities,” Yussuff added.For more information on the campaign visit aplanforeveryone.ca. Issue:  Social and Economic Policy Healthcar […]