• The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) releases detailed analysis of Budget 2019
    by cstdenis on March 25, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    The 2019 federal budget was released on Tuesday, March 19 and despite being the last budget before this fall’s federal election, sets out only a modest fiscal plan rather than a bold vision for the future.The CLC, which represents 3.3 million Canadian workers, issued an immediate response to the budget [link to media release] but is now releasing a more detailed budget analysis that outlines the commitments on important issues for working Canadians.This budget takes tentative steps toward national pharmacare, and provides important measures to support lower income seniors, skills training for workers, reforms to the Employment Insurance (EI) appeal process and infrastructure funding for communities to assist as Canada transitions away from coal-powered electricity.However, the budget's failure to provide pension protection in the face of corporate bankruptcy, lack of investments in childcare, and inaction on measures to support workers in terms of income, training and re-employment as recommended by the Just Transition task force, leaves much work unfinished.Read the full analysis here. Issue:  Jobs and the Economy Training and Apprenticeship Social and Economic Policy Healthcare Child Care Retirement Security Employment Insurance Federal Budget […]

  • Islamophobia at work requires immediate action, say Canada’s unions
    by cstdenis on March 20, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Canada’s unions are proud to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with the release of a ground-breaking report on the impacts of Islamophobia in the workplace.Islamophobia at Work: Challenges and Opportunities explores the rise of anti-Muslim attitudes and discrimination in Canada. It provides recommendations for employers, trade unions, and government on how to address this pernicious phenomenon.The report comes just one week after the horrific terrorist attack at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Those attacks were a stark reminder of the urgency of addressing Islamophobia in our communities.“All of us were deeply shocked by the events last week that saw the murder of 50 people. We can’t condemn such acts without also committing to address the underlying attitudes that lead to the demonization of marginalized communities,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.“Canada’s unions have a long and proud history of advocacy for human rights because discrimination and racism in our communities ultimately impacts on workers and their families. Islamophobia is one of many forms of racism that can poison workplaces but it often does so without stigma. We need to establish better measures to protect workers against individual and systemic discrimination,” said Yussuff.“We hear all too regularly from Muslims right across the country who face discrimination at work. This impacts their ability to contribute positively and to seek and hold meaningful employment,” said Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director at the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).“This report is the first of its kind to examine the underlying trends fueling Islamophobia in the context of workplaces and to include concrete recommendations targeted towards unions, employers, and government. We believe this report will serve as a valuable resource for anyone committed to challenging racism and creating equitable and inclusive workplaces,” added Gardee.There has been a steady rise of hate crimes targeting Muslim communities in Canada over the past several years. In 2017, a young man consumed by hatred killed six men attending prayers at a Québec City mosque. Alexandre Bissonnette’s name was even cited by the New Zealand terrorist. That same year, hate crimes targeting Muslims rose by 151 percent across the country. Meanwhile, members of far-right groups continue to mobilize online and offline, organizing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rallies which further demonize these communities.The report aims to address the impact of this harmful climate on Canadian workplaces with specific recommendations aimed at reinforcing the responsibility of employers to educate management and staff about legal obligations around human rights and religious accommodations; encouraging governments to do more to support anti-racism awareness campaigns and develop strategies to address online hate; and highlighting the important role trade unions must play in championing fairness, equity, and social justice for Muslims in Canada.“The labour movement has come to recognize that Islamophobia is a threat on far too many levels, including to our very democracy,” said Yussuff. “Workers across Canada must start mobilizing against the forces of fear and hatred. We must not let them succeed in dividing communities and driving people apart. That’s not the Canada we want nor deserve.” Issue:  Human Rights & Equality Racialized Workers Social and Economic Policy Role of Unions […]

  • Canadian Labour Congress welcomes progress in the federal budget, but says much is riding on the next election
    by cstdenis on March 19, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    The Canadian Labour Congress welcomes new measures to lay the groundwork for national pharmacare, provide assistance for the neediest seniors, skills training, and a community-centred approach to carbon reduction, but says Canadians have a lot riding on the next election.“Canadian workers, their families and their communities will benefit from new budgetary measures that lay the groundwork for curbing exorbitant medicine prices, income inequality, and climate change,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “We are pleased to see a budget that acknowledges some of the most pressing issues facing Canadians, because these are the issues that voters will be taking to the ballot box in the federal election.”Canada’s unions have long advocated for the introduction of a universal, single-payer pharmacare plan to reduce drug prices, save billions for families and businesses, and provide vital medicines to the 3.6 million Canadians who cannot afford to fill their prescriptions. Today’s federal budget delivers on a recommendation of the interim report of the federal Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare by announcing funding for a new federal drug agency to lead to the future development of a national formulary, as well as new funding for medicines for rare diseases.“Canada’s unions continue to feel cautiously optimistic that a universal pharmacare plan is on the horizon. Today’s budget clears important obstacles but waits on the government’s pharmacare advisory council to prescribe the model for pharmacare delivery,” said Yussuff. “Experts all agree that Canada’s patchwork approach to prescription drug coverage needs to be streamlined, but drug costs won’t come down unless there is one plan and one buyer.”Today’s federal budget also announced plans to introduce improvements to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by raising the $3,500 annual earnings exemption for employment income. Two million elderly Canadians, roughly one third of all seniors, receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement, which is targeted to the most vulnerable.“Allowing working seniors to keep more of their GIS benefit will reduce financial insecurity in old age and make a material difference in the lives of seniors,” said Yussuff.  Budget 2019 announced the government’s plan to prioritize skills and training, including the establishment of the Canada Training Benefit to assist with fees and provide income support for lifelong learning and skills development.“The commitments in today’s budget signal that the government recognizes access to continuous learning must be a priority to ensure workers can adapt to technological change and emerging skill needs,” said Yussuff. “The success of today’s commitments will depend on funding and training opportunities reaching those who need it most. The Canadian Labour Congress has concerns about the design of the benefit, but remains committed to promoting worker awareness of, and access to, these new training opportunities.”The CLC also welcomed Budget 2019’s funding commitment to reform the Employment Insurance appeal process. “Unemployed workers and Canada’s unions have long urged the government to restore transparency, efficiency and fairness to the appeal process. We applaud this important funding commitment,” said Yussuff.Canada’s unions are pleased to see the federal government announce measures to ensure a just transition as the government addresses climate change. The 2019 Budget pledges $150 million in infrastructure funding to directly assist resource-based municipalities in establishing new fiscal drivers.“I was proud to serve as Co-Chair for Canada’s Just Transition Task Force, and to work together with government to put people and communities at the heart of climate policy. Today’s budget commitment will help begin to ensure that communities are not left behind as Canada transitions away from coal-powered electricity by 2030,” said Yussuff. “Canada’s unions are looking forward to working with the Minister of Natural Resources as the newly named lead minister, but are disappointed to see that the government has not addressed key Task Force recommendations to support workers, in terms of income, training and reemployment needs. Without this, workers will be left behind.”The Congress highlighted other positive announcements in today’s federal budget, including:Investments in stabilizing Phoenix in the short term, noting that more is needed for long-term planning and funding for a new system.Funding to support a new anti-racism strategy, funding for LGBTQ2+ organizations and establishment of an LGBTQ2+ Secretariat, Gender Equality funding to expand the Women’s Program and funds for Black Canadian communities.Action on tax avoidance and restrictions on stock-option deductions, which overwhelmingly benefit a small number of high-income earners.The Congress also noted several concerns over budgetary omissions, including:A missed opportunity to immediately provide pension protection and address the injustice workers and pensioners face during employer bankruptcy.A failure to expand the EI sickness benefit.A lack of new investments in high quality, affordable, public early learning and childcare. Issue:  Social and Economic Policy Federal Budget […]

  • Statement by CLC President Hassan Yussuff on terrorist attack on mosques in New Zealand
    by cstdenis on March 15, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, made the following statement today on the terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.“On behalf of Canada’s 3.3 million workers, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families and victims of the terrorist attacks on the Muslim houses of prayer in Christchurch, New Zealand.Canada’s unions are united in grief and outrage at the despicable acts of those espousing white supremacist and fascist ideology.We express our utmost condemnation of these dangerous movements and are committed to doing all we can to confront all forms of racism, bigotry, and Islamophobia wherever they emerge.We call on our elected officials and representatives to do all they can to address the rise of far-right extremism and hatred in our communities. These troubling currents are a threat to all of us, and a threat to our very democracy.We specifically call on elected representatives to distance themselves from any of those who promote or support racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.Every person living in Canada, and anywhere around the world, has the right to feel safe and secure expressing their faith, traditions, and being who they are.” Issue:  Around the World Human Rights & Equality […]

  • Working People Need a Fairness Budget: 10 Things Canada’s unions want to see in Budget 2019
    by cstdenis on March 12, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    The 2019 federal budget signals the government’s plans and priorities leading up to the fall election. Canada’s unions expect budget 2019 to outline a multi-year roadmap making significant improvements to the well-being of working people and vulnerable groups in Canada. At the same time, the budget must address urgent priorities for working people in its spending plans for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, including in areas such as Employment Insurance, good job creation, affordable housing, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and climate change.To advance the goals of fairness and to deal with urgent unmet needs, Canada’s unions are looking for expanded investments in pharmacare, Employment Insurance, child care, affordable housing, and just transition measures to create good jobs while moving Canada toward a low-carbon economy. These investments must address the significant and growing inequality that is intensifying economic insecurity for working people, undermining the social mobility of families and the health of communities across Canada.Here’s what a “Fairness Budget” means for working people:1. Universal National PharmacareWhen calling on their government for a national pharmacare plan, Canadians have been clear: we do not want half-measures that continue to grossly inflate medication costs, driving up corporate profits at the expense of universal public coverage. Budget 2019 must outline the federal government’s plan and budget future expenditures to implement a universal, single-payer pharmacare program in Canada. The Interim Report from the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare called on the government to create a new, arms-length, national drug agency to develop and manage a comprehensive national drug formulary and conduct negotiations with drug manufacturers. Budget 2019 should allocate money for this purpose. Universal pharmacare won’t just ensure everyone has access to the life-saving medications they need, it will save households and employers billions of dollars. Canada is the only developed country in the world with a universal public health care system that does not include universal coverage for prescription drugs. As a result, more than 3.6 million Canadians cannot afford to fill their prescriptions and Canadians pay the third highest drug prices in the world. A universal public pharmacare program will ensure that all Canadians have equitable access to life-saving prescription drugs and it will save families and employers billions of dollars.2. Pensions and Retirement SecurityCanadians have been shocked by the high-profile bankruptcies of Sears and other companies that have left retirees stranded, without the pension protection they had been promised after decades of loyal service. The federal government must take steps to ensure that workers who have paid for pensions throughout their working lifetime are not penalized if their employer enters insolvency. The government has many options for ending this injustice. Budget 2019 should take steps to reform federal bankruptcy laws to ensure that plan members and retirees are protected, introduce mandatory pension insurance to look after pensions and benefits in bankruptcy, and implement better monitoring and regulation of companies that sponsor underfunded defined-benefit pension plans (DBP).3. Affordable HousingIn 2017, the federal budget committed to a new National Housing Strategy and the government has publicly recognized that access to shelter is a human right. Canada’s unions want to see the federal government partner with provincial counterparts to build new affordable housing and invest in the existing affordable housing stock. In particular, budget 2019 should expand investments in First Nations housing on reserve and signal the federal government’s intention to work with provinces, territories and cities in order to crack down on absentee ownership and speculative investment in housing. Canadian workers also want to see the government build and re-invest in temporary and emergency shelter spaces for women and children, and expand social housing, mental health support, and addiction services to help the homeless and those at risk of homelessness.4. Just Transition Canada must broaden its economy, invest in new jobs and new industries in all communities, and invest in training to prepare workers for the jobs of the next decade. As Canada transitions away from coal-powered electricity, the federal government needs to ensure affected workers have support to transition to new employment or a dignified retirement, depending on where they are in their working life. Coal communities need targeted investment and transitional supports. The final report of the labour-led Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities was released on March 11. The federal government should act quickly on the recommendations of the Task Force and build on the $35 million announced in budget 2018 to support just transition training and adjustment measures for workers and their communities. Investing in renewable energy, efficient buildings and retrofits, and public transportation will create good jobs while reducing emissions. Ambitious green job-creation targets and support for the low-carbon economy should serve as a framework for sustained, long-term investment in Indigenous communities and low-income urban youth, in order to counteract the forces of inequality, discrimination and despair.5. Employment InsuranceThe government has committed to a broad review of the EI program to address the fact that EI leaves far too many unemployed workers with no safety net. Canada’s unions welcome a full and immediate review of the EI program, and immediate changes to improve the access of unemployed workers to benefits, as well as the adequacy and duration of those benefits. The federal government should also expand the EI sickness benefit and re-examine the financing of the EI program. Finally, the budget should restore fairness and tripartite participation in the EI appeals process to ensure that workers receive the benefits they are entitled to in a timely manner.6. Investments in Skills Training, Literacy and Life-Long LearningIn order to prepare workers to adapt to technological change and emerging skills needs, budget 2019 should fund access to continuous workplace training and lifelong learning. Given that strong literacy and essential skills are vital for equal participation, the government should ensure core funding for literacy organizations and invest in a new national workplace literacy program delivered in partnership with trade unions. The government should prioritize broad access to training opportunities, for women as well as men, and groups with fewer opportunities including youth, lower-skilled workers, workers with disabilities, newcomers to Canada, and workers of colour. The government should expand vocational education and training opportunities for youth, including in-work apprenticeships and on-the-job experience, while recognizing the vital role of public education and community colleges. The budget should also strengthen Just Transition labour adjustment programming to assist workers, their families and their communities affected by plant closures and climate change policy to access training and employment services, shift to new jobs, and transition to retirement.7. Fairness for Children and Working ParentsAffordable, accessible and high-quality public child care is essential for women’s full and equal participation in paid work, for dividing unpaid care work more fairly between women and men, and for closing the gender wage gap. Canada needs a plan to achieve affordable child care for all families. Budget 2017 committed $7.5 billion over 11 years to create more child care spaces, but the government can and should expand this investment. Budget 2019 should allocate $1 billion for child care in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, with funds earmarked for Indigenous child care, and increase that amount each year until public spending on child care reaches at least one percent of GDP, the international benchmark used by the OECD, UNICEF and other international bodies.8. Fairness for Indigenous PeopleTrue reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and undoing generations of injustice and discrimination will continue to require expanded multi-year investments in Indigenous communities. The federal government should invest in First Nations-led approaches to resolving the potable water crisis, including the development and implementation of source water protection plans, while ensuring expedited upgrading and maintenance of water systems. Budget 2019 should set aside funding to support equitable and statutory funding to ensure Indigenous child welfare services and expand investments in direct job creation, skills training and apprenticeship opportunities for Indigenous youth, men, and women9. Fairness for Newcomers to CanadaImmigrants, migrants, and refugees are essential to Canada’s economy, diversity and regional development, yet newcomers continue to face enormous barriers in gaining access to decent jobs, housing, and settlement services. There are many important aspects to doing this. For instance, budget 2019 should include funds to expand settlement services to those who need it, including refugee claimants, migrant workers, citizens and those with precarious immigration status. Canada’s unions want the federal government to invest in the recognition of foreign credentials and expand bridging programs for internationally-trained immigrants and refugees to help newcomers find jobs that match their level of training and experience.10. Tax Fairness and Reducing InequalityExpensive tax cuts and tax loopholes have benefited the wealthiest in Canada to the point where the top one percent of income-earners now pay a lower overall effective tax rate than the poorest ten percent. In order to address growing inequality, Canada’s unions want the federal government to eliminate regressive tax loopholes that overwhelmingly benefit high-income earners. Budget 2019 should target new revenues from taxing foreign e-commerce firms appropriately in order to create a level playing field for Canadian providers, and by clamping down on corporate tax dodging through offshore tax structures, including through the application of a one percent withholding tax on Canadian corporate assets held in offshore tax havens. Issue:  Social and Economic Policy Federal Budget […]

  • Just Transition Task Force report has potential to put people at the heart of climate policy
    by cstdenis on March 11, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    Canada’s unions welcome the federal government's release of the final report of the Just Transition Task Force for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities, along with the accompanying report: “What We Heard from Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities”.“The Task Force worked to put people and communities at the heart of climate policy by developing ten practical and concrete recommendations on how to support affected workers and communities through the transition away from coal-fired electricity, with worker involvement and local decision making at the centre,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.Co-chaired by Yussuff, the Task Force’s mandate was to provide the federal government with recommendations for how to support a just and fair transition for Canadian coal workers and communities, as Canada meets its commitment to transition away from coal-powered electricity by 2030. It has been working since April 2018 and included strong representation from labour, as well as a former employer in the coal-power sector, a councillor from an affected municipality, and experts in workforce transitions and sustainable development.“I want to thank the workers and community members who met with the Task Force. Learning about their jobs and their communities and hear directly about what they need to make this transition away from coal-fired power a just transition was key to crafting these recommendations,” said Yussuff.The task force met with workers and federal, provincial and municipal governments and other stakeholders in communities with coal power facilities across the four affected provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.“It has been an honour to serve as a co-chair for this task force and look forward to working with the government to ensure meaningful action on implementing these much needed recommendations,” said Yussuff. “Canada’s unions will be watching next week’s federal budget for signs that the government will support workers and their communities as Canada works to address climate change.” Issue:  Jobs and the Economy Social and Economic Policy […]

  • When Government, Employers & Unions Take Domestic Violence Seriously
    by cstdenis on March 8, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    By Hassan Yussuff, Derrick Hynes, and the Hon. Patty Hajdu In the four years since the release of the first-ever pan-Canadian study on the impact of domestic violence at work, unions, employers and governments have embarked on a remarkable joint project to help protect jobs and promote workplace safety.We now have a common understanding of the magnitude of this problem and we must work together to support workers, mostly but not exclusively women, who are experiencing domestic violence. The evidence is clear. Domestic violence affects attendance, productivity, and retention. It follows people to work and puts jobs and safety at risk.While it’s not the role of employers or unions to eliminate such a complex societal problem, workplaces can have an effect on how a worker is able to respond. The money a woman earns through employment can help her from becoming trapped and isolated in violent relationships, and ensures she can support herself and her children should she decide to leave.And while not every abusive relationship will escalate to serious injury or death, it happens to women far too frequently – and workplace safety is at risk for her and potentially for her colleagues, as an abuser may look for their target at work.That’s why, together, governments, employers and unions are taking action. The first step was passing Bill C-65, which clearly recognizes harassment and violence as a workplace hazard. The federal government has provided workers with job-protected, paid domestic violence leave. Employers and unions have negotiated additional paid leave and other workplace supports and accommodations. Unions have built a series of educational tools to better equip union representatives and promote awareness among members.Our next step is to develop strong regulations on workplace violence that clearly lay out the steps that workplaces should take to respond to domestic violence at work, to manage and reduce risk, and to support workers who are affected. This work should build on positive steps that have already been taken across many organizations.We are embarking now on a collective effort to promote awareness and ensure that workplaces are prepared.  With support from the Government of Canada, FETCO and the Canadian Labour Congress have partnered with the Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children at Western University to provide practical, workplace solutions including policies, tools and training materials that clearly delineate employer responsibilities related to domestic violence in the new harassment and violence regulations. By promoting greater awareness about domestic violence, we hope to challenge the stigma and break the silence that enables the violence to continue – and which can put everyone at the workplace at risk if an abuser’s behaviour escalates.Abusers seek control over the woman in their life, and isolation is a tool to keep the woman separate from others. People stay silent when they witness or suspect that someone close to them may be experiencing abuse for many reasons. Sometimes it’s uncertainty about whether what is happening is actually abuse. Maybe it’s not understanding how risky a situation really is. It might be that we don’t want to embarrass our co-worker by putting her on the spot, or we think the person is capable of handling it. Or maybe we just aren’t sure what we can do to help. Breaking the silence is the critical first step for a woman to end the abuse she is experiencing. By giving workers, managers, human resource staff and union representatives tools they need to recognize the warning signs of domestic violence, we can better support and empower people experiencing abuse to safely speak with their friends and co-workers.Clear workplace policies will be essential to helping manage risk and respond to specific situations. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing domestic violence at work. Each worker will need different supports, and their situation and risk may change over time. But with better awareness and access to training and other resources, we are confident that workplaces will be better prepared to respond, keeping everyone safer, healthier and more productive.Hassan Yussuff is the President of the Canadian Labour Congress, Derrick Hynes is the President and CEO of the Federally Regulated Employers – Transportation and Communications (FETCO), and the Honourable Patty Hajdu is the Federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. Issue:  Health and Safety Violence Human Rights & Equality Women […]

  • Canada’s unions welcome first steps on pharmacare
    by cstdenis on March 6, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    Canada’s unions welcome the interim report presented today by the federal Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.Its key recommendations begin to address the existing inefficiencies in an unfair system that leaves millions of Canadians unable to afford their prescriptions and grappling with the third highest drug prices in the world.“The recommendations in today’s report have the potential to increase access and move to lower costs if implemented alongside a universal, national, public pharmacare program,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.The Advisory Council undertook extensive consultations with Canadians. Their findings confirm what studies and polls have clearly shown: the current system is broken and leaves too many Canadians without the coverage they need. More than 3.6 million Canadians cannot afford to fill their prescriptions, according to government estimates.“The creation of a national drug agency and the development of a comprehensive, evidence-based national drug formulary are significant changes that will move Canada in the right direction,” said Yussuff.  “Delivering this through a pharmacare model designed similarly to Medicare will ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, has access to the medications they need, as they do right now with hospitals and doctors,” he continued.Over the past two years, the Canadian Labour Congress has been campaigning for a universal pharmacare plan. Over that time, 108,000 people have signed a petition, 26,000 emailed their Member of Parliament and nearly 14,000 made submissions to the Advisory Council urging for the adoption of a universal single-payer public model. This campaign is supported by recent public opinion polls that show 88% of Canadians support a single-payer universal pharmacare program.“Canadians need a universal pharmacare system and Canada’s unions will be looking to the final report for a comprehensive blueprint for the implementation of a public universal model of pharmacare,” he continued.  Issue:  Social and Economic Policy Healthcar […]

  • International Women’s Day: #DoneWaiting for equality in the workplace
    by cstdenis on March 5, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Canada’s Unions are marking International Women’s Day in 2019 with a bold message on the future of women and work: women are #DoneWaiting for fairness at work. It’s time to expose what it’s like #BeingAWomanAtWork and demand changes to help make workplaces and working life better for women.#DoneWaiting is a campaign for women’s economic justice. Launched one year ago, the campaign began with a call for federal government action to end sexual harassment and violence, fix the child care crisis, and end wage discrimination.After months of digital actions and lobbying, we had a major victory in December of 2018: pay equity became the law in Canada. The new Pay Equity Act requires all federally-regulated employers to create proactive pay equity plans and will introduce a new federal Pay Equity Commissioner.“This is an historic moment for women in Canada”, said Marie Clarke Walker, Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC, “There’s still work to do on the regulations before the Act comes into force, but the Act’s adoption is a testament to what can be achieved when we are united in our fight for women’s economic justice.”We’ve made progress toward an end to sexual harassment and violence. Seven provinces, as well as the federal government, have introduced paid domestic violence leave, and new federal occupational health and safety legislation offers better protections for workers who experience violence and harassment at work.“We’ve seen that our messages are being heard and we are making progress. Let’s celebrate how far we’ve come. Also remember: we’re not done yet.” said Clarke Walker.With a federal election on the horizon, Canada’s unions are expanding the conversation about women’s economic justice by looking more closely at the issue of working life and workplace culture. We want women’s voices at the centre as we consider our next calls to action. So we are asking women to share their stories about #BeingAWomanAtWork. Even though study after study shows that more women in the workforce will help grow the economy and improve everyone’s lives, we know that the working world isn’t working for women.Too many women still face significant barriers to success at work. Many have trouble finding a good job or advancing at their workplace, and many more struggle with low-wage, precarious work.“It’s time for leadership to reduce barriers for women’s labour force participation” said Clarke Walker, “There is a role for our federal government, employers, and unions to play. We must work together and ensure that the future of women and work means good jobs and fair treatment for all, especially for the most marginalized.”Everyone has a story. Speak up now and help us keep up the pressure for change in 2019. Issue:  Health and Safety Violence Human Rights & Equality Women Jobs and the Economy Gender Pay Gap Social and Economic Policy Child Car […]

  • Why Canada’s unions are highlighting environmental racism during Black History Month
    by cstdenis on February 6, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Environmental racism is the development and implementation of environmental policy on issues such as toxic waste disposal sites, pollution, and urban decay in areas with a significant ethnic or racial population. Believe it or not, Canada is not immune to these policies.This Black History Month, Canada’s unions say there can be no environmental justice without racial justice: addressing anti-Black racism is an integral part of the conversation on environmental activism.Alongside Canada’s Indigenous communities, Black and people of African descent are disproportionately burdened with environmental hazards. This environmental racism includes exposure to toxic waste facilities, garbage dumps, and other sources of environmental pollution that negatively impact quality of life and health outcomes.Africville, a small, yet vibrant, Black community in Halifax, NS, is an important example of how anti-Black racism was perpetuated by environmental policies. Despite paying municipal taxes, the community was deprived of basic services such as access to clean water, sewage, and waste management. Africville’s proximity to the development of an infectious disease hospital, a prison and a garbage dump, over time, added to deplorable living conditions imposed by the City.The residents, after 120 years of resilience, were subject to a forced and dispersed relocation. Often overnight, over the span of a number of years, residents had their personal items transported in garbage trucks and their homes demolished.This forced relocation, after years of marginalization by the City of Halifax, impacted the community by displacing residents both from their homes and their place of work, therefore exacerbating their economic insecurity.Today, compounded by the barriers to sustainable employment, pay inequities, and barriers to opportunities for advancement in the workplace, Black workers and their families are still exposed to harmful and often life-threatening conditions in their home communities.Hogan’s Alley in British Columbia, Leamington in Ontario, and Shelburne in Nova Scotia, are only a few examples of Black communities faced with the serious challenge of environmental racism.“In the case of environmental racism in Black communities, environmental justice is linked to economic justice and that is at the root of why this is a trade union issue,” said CLC Executive Vice-President, Larry Rousseau.A UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent recommended that the “Government of Canada should encourage federal, provincial and municipal governments to seriously consider the concerns of African Nova Scotians and help to develop legislation on environmental issues affecting them.”Ingrid R.G. Waldron, author of There’s Something In The Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities, has said that although environmental racism has a disproportionate impact on Black and Indigenous communities, pollution travels to adjacent communities, meaning this injustice affects everyone and will require collective action.“Ingrid Waldron’s research shows the true reach of this issue — it expands far beyond Nova Scotia. We can’t ignore or deny the history of mistreatment of Black communities across Canada. Canada’s unions can play a key role in connecting the dots between environmental justice and anti-Black racism,” said Rousseau.Last February, the Federal Government acknowledged the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024). While this recognition is important, more action is required. Canada’s unions and our allies are ready to take on the issue of environmental racism in Canada.To learn more about anti-Black racism in Canada and how workers are challenging it, sign up here. Issue:  Health and Safety Human Rights & Equality Aboriginal Workers Racialized Workers Social and Economic Policy […]