Schmebsite GO!

Poopsie Doopsie

Labour College of Canada announces partnership with Brock University

The Labour College of Canada (LCC) is proud to announce a new partnership with Brock University. Under the agreement, successful completion of approved LCC courses may be recognized as transfer credits towards a certificate or undergraduate degree in Labour Studies at Brock.

The eligible courses include Unions in the Political Economy, Labour Leadership and Organizing Change, and Growing the Movement: Inside and Out.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with such a first-class post-secondary institution as Brock University. This is an historic moment for the Labour College of Canada,” said Hassan Yussuff, CLC President and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Labour College of Canada. “The Labour College empowers graduates and equips them to tackle today’s challenges as they take on new leadership roles within the labour movement. This unique opportunity will allow Labour College graduates to further their education in labour studies, and help shape strong leaders of the future.”

“Our department is internationally recognized as an innovative leader in labour studies research, teaching, and public engagement,” says Kendra Coulter, Chair of the Department of Labour Studies. “We are delighted to be able to recognize the knowledge and experience of labour activists from all across Canada through this partnership and look forward to welcoming them into our classes and academic community.”

The LCC Certificate Program is a labour studies and leadership program for active union members that supports critical thinking and collaborative learning. It is a union-made program offering university level courses on issues related to work and the rights of workers in Canada.

“This partnership offers a significant opportunity. It is a great example of how we can combine real-world experience with academic credentialling to create positive change in the world,” said Ingrid Makus, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

“The Labour College program has been instrumental in shaping labour leaders across Canada,” said Larry Rousseau, CLC Executive Vice-President and Labour College graduate. “This partnership will open even more doors for graduates by helping them further their post-secondary education in Labour Studies, making their valuable Labour College experience that much more versatile.”

Click here for more information on the LCC program, including the Brock University Labour Studies partnership.

End-of-year unemployment data shows need for continued support for workers

“Even as the vaccine roll-out begins, we can see that the tough times aren’t behind us yet,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff. “The end-of-year unemployment data remind us that strong government support continues to be a vital lifeline for workers and their families who are struggling through the economic shock of the pandemic.”

The December Labour Force Survey, released today by Statistics Canada, shows higher than expected job losses last month. Unemployment rose to 8.6 percent, with employment down 63,000 and job-market participation dropping for the second month in a row.

“These are unprecedented times. The important public health precautions implemented over the past year have had an exceptionally hard impact on workers,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Workers in Canada need to know that when the virus is contained, they can count on decent jobs, with good wages, and adequate benefits to help their families bounce back.”

Facing another round of shutdowns as COVID numbers rise, many workers across the country worried that their financial forecast is getting bleaker. Recent reports have revealed stories of personal support workers checking into homeless shelters and other workers failing to claim the federal government’s sick leave program out of fear of reprisal.

“Investing in Canada’s workers is a direct investment in our economy and it is vital to an economic recovery. The federal government must remain focused on income support and assistance to ensure that workers’ jobs are protected,” said Yussuff. “As we invest in a healthy recovery, Canada must also prepare for the long-term future by disaster-proofing our economy so that we are ready when the next crisis hits.”

Lessons from 2020: The pandemic brought out the best in Canada’s workers

“Canada’s unions are marking the end of 2020 by looking back on all that has been accomplished to protect workers and their families through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world has been forever changed, but people across Canada have come together to focus on our collective good.

Though the pandemic is not over and there is continued uncertainty, I have no doubt the people of Canada will continue to come together to do what is best for our families, our communities and the future of the country.

Over the course of the last few months, workers and their families have spoken out. Hundreds of thousands of people took action – writing to their MPs, holding meetings, sharing stories – and as a result the federal government created several important programs.

Throughout this pandemic, we have been reminded of the power of activism. When people come together to raise their voices, great things can happen – like emergency benefits, paid sick leave, and real discussions about the future of child care and long-term care.

This holiday season, Canada’s unions call on people across this country to recognize the thousands of frontline workers who have kept our communities running throughout the pandemic. Many of these people who will be working through the holidays. Honour them by continuing to heed public health guidelines.

This has been one of the most challenging years any of us has ever faced. As we mark the end of 2020 and all the challenges it posed, we can look toward 2021 with hope and optimism.

There are still challenges ahead. We need to remain vigilant to ensure that Canada continues to invest in people. But this pandemic has reminded us what it means to work together.

Personally, and on behalf of Canada’s unions, I wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.”

Hassan Yussuff
President, Canadian Labour Congress

Canada’s unions stand with India’s farmers and farm workers

Canada’s unions stand in solidarity with farmers and agricultural workers in India as they continue to protest recent reforms to agricultural laws that deregulate the industry and leave farmers and farm workers vulnerable to exploitation by international corporations.

“Deregulating local produce markets will have a devastating impact on farmers, farm workers and food security in India,” said Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff. “We stand with the international labour movement to support workers who are taking to the streets to protest these reforms and fight for their rights.”

India’s central and local governments passed three farm acts in September. Taken together, these acts threaten to impoverish millions of small farmers and leave millions more farm workers unemployed. Farmers’ unions have been protesting since August, escalating to a national general strike on November 26, 2020.

The government of India has also proposed reforms that undermine unions and violate international labour standards that India has ratified as a member of the International Labour Organization.

“The government’s legislation leaves farmers and workers at the mercy of large multinational corporations and global commodity price swings,” said Yussuff. “We deplore the fact that some states in India are also using the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to suspend labour laws and attack workers’ rights. The international community has to stand up.”

The protesting farmers are making several demands, including asking that the new farm laws be repealed; that all repressive measures taken against protesters cease; and that movement leaders who have been arrested be released. Other workers’ unions in the country have joined the protests in support of the farmers.

Canada’s unions call for pathway to permanent residency for all migrant workers

Canada’s unions are marking International Migrants Day by calling on the federal government to offer a pathway to permanent residency to all migrant workers who wish to apply.

The federal government recently announced that it will be accepting applications for permanent residence from refugee claimants working in the healthcare sector. This important announcement recognizes the crucial contributions refugee workers have made to the safety and wellbeing of communities across the country, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Canada’s unions are concerned that the eligibility criteria are too narrow.

“While we applaud the government’s recent announcement, the option to apply for permanent residency should be available to migrant workers in all sectors,” said Hassan Yussuff, CLC President. “The pandemic has shown that migrant workers provide essential services. All migrant workers deserve the opportunity to stay in Canada and to have their human and labour rights protected, just as any other worker.”

This week, the federal government also announced that it will allow seasonal migrant workers from Trinidad and Tobago – stuck in Canada due to COVID-19 travel restrictions – to apply for open work permits. This grants them job mobility, and gives them access to healthcare and employment insurance while Canadian officials negotiate their return home.

Although this is a step in the right direction, it highlights the vulnerability of migrant workers.

Migrant workers face insecurity, discrimination and often work in dangerous conditions. Their precarious position leaves them dependant on employers and makes them especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. The pandemic has only made this worse.

During the initial quarantine period earlier this year, migrant workers reported wage issues, food insecurity and a lack of required public health measures in their accommodations. By the month of November, nearly 2,000 migrant workers on farms across Canada had fallen ill with COVID-19, and three had died.

“The federal government must also ensure that migrant workers have comprehensive worker protections to prevent exploitation, abuse, mistreatment and discriminatory workplace policies,” said Yussuff. “These workers have been doing critical work throughout the pandemic to keep our families and communities safe and cared for, while they faced instability, insecurity and unfair working and living conditions. It’s past time for their efforts to be recognized and valued.”

Canada’s unions believe that all workers in Canada should be treated fairly. Migrant workers deserve a fair future just as all workers do. Our country’s recovery depends on the expansion of equal rights and protections for all workers so we can ensure a better, more inclusive, and just economic recovery.

Canada’s unions welcome new bill to adopt Indigenous rights framework

Canada’s unions welcome the federal government’s recent announcement and subsequent tabling of a bill to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), a commitment which was to be fulfilled before the end of the year.

The new bill, Bill C-15, comes four years after former NDP MP Romeo Saganash introduced Bill C-262, a similar private members bill that died in the Senate.

“By introducing Bill C-15, the federal government is taking a long overdue and much needed step on the path toward reconciliation,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “The Bill would require the government to take concrete action to ensure that Canadian laws are consistent with the Declaration.”

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People establishes a framework of global minimum human rights standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples. Just as Bill C-262 did before it, the new Bill affirms UNDRIP as a universal international human rights framework with application in Canadian law.

The Bill would require the federal government, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, to:

  • Ensure the laws of Canada are consistent with the Declaration;
  • Prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of UNDRIP, to be completed as soon as practicable, but no later than three years after the day on which this section comes into force; and
  • Prepare and table an annual report on progress on the action plan, and to align the laws of Canada with UNDRIP.

Both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls called for the government to fully adopt and implement UNDRIP as the framework for reconciliation and justice for Indigenous peoples, including Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit persons who continue to face the deep brunt of the legacy of colonial violence.

Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to pass and enact Bill C-15 in a timely fashion and are joining Indigenous leaders and community members in stressing that Indigenous peoples have been waiting far too long for substantive and resolute measures from the federal government when it comes to justice and reconciliation.

“The government must seize this opportunity to make significant and meaningful change in the lives of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples and move forward on the path to true reconciliation,” said CLC Executive Vice-President Larry Rousseau.

Canada’s unions welcome federal government commitments on climate change

OTTAWA – Coming on the heels of the government’s climate accountability legislation, today’s 2030 climate emissions reduction plan contains significant announcements for working people.

Expanded investments in energy efficiency, conservation and large-scale retrofitting of residential and commercial structures will create significant numbers of new jobs and require expanded investments in skills training and growing Canada’s construction trades.

Green and climate-resilient infrastructure investments will also mean an expanded skilled trades workforce.

“Labour will be looking to the federal government to make good on its commitment to supporting local job creation, skills training, apprenticeships and decent wages for workers, especially to those historically underrepresented in the skilled trades sector, including Indigenous workers, racialized workers and women,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

“Canada needs strong Just Transition measures to assist workers in resource communities and fossil fuel-dependent economies to access new job opportunities in clean energy, green transportation, efficient buildings and conservation if Canada hopes to meet and exceed the targets and prevent the worst outcomes of climate change.”

Canada’s unions welcome the government’s emphasis on domestic manufacturing, including developing Canadian supply chains for low-emission building materials, clean tech, and aerospace and automotive investments, and leveraging the power of public procurement. Additionally, unions are noting the crucial commitments made today towards bringing Indigenous communities into the process.

Despite today’s heavy emphasis on market signals and the private sector, public investment and planning will be vital to meeting Canada’s emissions-reduction targets.

“Today’s commitments towards public transit, including the domestic procurement of ZEV public transit and school buses, demonstrate progress,” added Yussuff.

As for increases on the price of carbon, unions are urging the government to ensure that the burden is fairly distributed, with low- and modest-income families protected.

Furthermore, the CLC welcomes the Government of Canada’s commitment to deliver on the country’s G20 commitment to phase-out all inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and its commitment to explore border carbon adjustments on imports.

To read more about the directed investments the CLC is calling for, visit canadianplan.ca.

To arrange an interview, please contact:
CLC Media Relations
media@clcctc.ca
613-526-7426

Human Rights Day: equitable COVID-19 recovery requires investment in care

Canada’s unions are marking International Human Rights Day by calling for long-term investments in the care sector.

“Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights” is the United Nations theme for this year’s International Human Rights Day, which is observed December 10.

“It is critical that Canada’s COVID-19 recovery efforts tackle the human rights failures that have been exposed by the pandemic. Significant government investments in the care sector will help level the playing field for those most affected by this virus,” said CLC Executive Vice-President Larry Rousseau.

“We welcome the federal government’s recent commitments to invest in public care systems. Canada must focus on creating better jobs, improving working conditions, and addressing the deep disparities within our economy,” he added.

The pandemic has demonstrated how our communities rely on precarious, low-wage work and unpaid labour in critical care sectors. This includes child care, early childhood education, elderly care, mental health, and other social care services that serve the health and safety of our communities.

Many of the workers in these sectors are Black, Indigenous, women of colour and recent immigrants. While this work is deemed “essential”, it is undervalued and workers face poor working conditions, violence, harassment and numerous other risks to their health and safety. They also face a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 and a lack of job security and access to benefits.

“This global crisis has laid bare what we’ve been saying for years: systemic discrimination and marginalization have put certain groups at a disadvantage. Entire communities are having a much harder time recovering due to unequal access to opportunities and services such as employment, health care and housing,” said Rousseau. “Long-term investment in care is crucial to disaster-proofing our economy, safeguarding our social safety net against future crises, and ensuring our collective well-being.”

Sign our petition urging the government to increase investments in our public care systems so we can move forward together and build a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

Canada’s unions call for long-term solutions to end gender-based violence

Canada’s unions are marking the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women by calling on the federal government to commit to long-term solutions to help survivors and to put an end to gender-based violence.

December 6 marks the 31st anniversary of the shooting at Montréal’s École Polytechnique where fourteen women were killed in what was then Canada’s deadliest massacre.

In April of this year that record was surpassed when 22 people were tragically killed in Nova Scotia.

“Both events were motivated by misogyny and both these tragedies spotlight the lethalness of Canada’s gender-based violence crisis,” said CLC Secretary-Treasurer Marie Clarke Walker. “However, this crisis is not limited to mass murder: a woman is killed by an intimate or former partner every six days in this country.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the gender-based violence crisis in Canada. With many workers laid off or working from home, those experiencing domestic violence can become trapped at home with their abuser. They may find it increasingly difficult to seek help, contact family and friends, or to make plans to leave.

Even when women have the courage to leave, there isn’t always a safe place to go. Before the pandemic began, women and children were turned away from domestic violence shelters more than 19,000 times every month in Canada. Now, 61 percent of women’s shelters are reporting a spike in demand for services at a time when they have also been forced to reduce their capacity in order to comply with public health guidelines.

“We welcome the government’s recently announced $100 million investment in women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help meet the surge in demand. But these investments fall short of what’s needed to truly tackle Canada’s gender-based violence crisis,” said Clarke Walker. “One-time funding boosts will not help repair our crumbling social infrastructure. Anti-violence organizations need long-term core operational funding in order to effectively support survivors and keep everyone safe.”

Trans people, Indigenous, Black, racialized people, women with disabilities, refugee, migrant, and undocumented women all face increased risks and barriers when trying to access support. These communities are often hit hardest by the ongoing strain on services.

“As we honour lives lost to gender-based violence, let’s also take action to prevent future tragedies. No one who is in a violent situation should be rejected or turned away when trying to get help. The time to invest is now,” said Clarke Walker.

Find a virtual vigil for December 6 in your community here.

Latest job numbers signal bleak winter ahead

OTTAWA – Canada’s unions are raising the alarm that many workers are facing a bleak winter of unemployment and under-employment with no immediate relief in sight.

November’s labour force survey released today by Statistics Canada showed high rates of long-term unemployment. A total of 1.5 million people are currently unemployed and looking for work; 400,000 have been without work for six months or longer. Another 317,000 workers dropped out of the labour market altogether last month.

“The scale of the jobs crisis has been without parallel in recent memory,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “The second wave of this pandemic is making life very difficult for many workers, many of whom have given up trying to find work for the time being. Beyond the immediate emergency supports that are helping to put food on the table for these families, government stimulus will be key to putting people back to work.”

The survey also showed that women continue to bear the brunt of child care responsibilities, with 55 per cent more mothers with young children working less than half their usual hours compared to this time last year.

The federal government has made commitments towards the creation of one million jobs and investments in skills and training.

“We’re heartened that the government has promised to make investments in long-term care and child care, two areas that employ significant numbers of women, including many who are racialized,” said Yussuff. “However, time is of the essence and workers need to see concrete actions.”

A recent study showed that investment in early learning and child care would create 200,000 new jobs in child care provision and another 80,000 indirect jobs, including 8,000 construction jobs. It would also increase women’s participation by as many as 725,000 additional workers.

Austerity policies implemented soon after the 2008-09 global economic downturn led to sluggish growth, prolonged unemployment and growing precarity in Canada. In our current crisis, continued income support and expanded public investments will be crucial to help people weather the pandemic’s second wave and to move the nation towards a strong recovery.

To arrange an interview, please contact:
CLC Media Relations
media@clcctc.ca
613-526-7426