Canadian Council celebrates a decade of activism

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Canadian Council kicks off Unifor’s 10-year anniversary celebrations

The opening day of Unifor’s 2023 Canadian Council in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Delegates were officially welcomed by Gary Joseph, Indigenous Elder, to Mi’kma’ki, to the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People.

Council recognized heroic members in aviation who are assisting with wildfire evacuations in Yellowknife and brave grocery workers who are standing up against some of the biggest corporate barons in Canada.

Delegates shared tears, laughter, joy, and overwhelming solidarity at the mics where members told stories of triumph, anger, and hope--and above all, the unwavering commitment to keep fighting for better. Because, to quote our National President, Lana Payne, "Equality doesn't just happen, you've got to fight for it."


Daniel Cloutier pumping his fist inspirationally at Unifor podium

In his speech, Unifor Quebec Director Daniel Cloutier highlighted workers who overcame obstacles, emphasized the importance of growing Canadian manufacturing jobs, and celebrated the contributions of Unifor members towards creating an improved and environmentally sustainable future for everyone. 

A decade of Pride activism celebrated at Canadian Council

Unifor reflected on the past decade of progress of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, while acknowledging there is still much more work to do.

Drag story teller standing up with arm raised

Delegates were treated to an inspiring Drag Story Time and remarks by Drag King Cyril Cinder, who spoke about fighting hate by changing people's hearts with love--and how unconditional love can change the world. The day ended with delegates enjoying a Pride Celebration street festival outside the Halifax Convention Centre.

Read the full day one Canadian Council story.

Read the full decade of Pride activism story.

Unifor Canadian Council delegates stand in solidarity of striking workers

Len Poirier speaking at Unifor podium

The second day of Unifor’s Canadian Council recognized striking and locked-out workers from Windsor Salt in Ontario, Les Autobus Venise in Quebec, Metro grocery stores in Greater Toronto Area, and Salvation Army workers in Langley, B.C.

The day opened with a report by National Secretary-Treasurer Len Poirier who provided an update on the union’s finances and spoke about the value of meeting members across the union with workplace tours.

In their reports to Council, Atlantic Regional Director Jennifer Murray and Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle spoke about the future of work in Canada and our members’ crucial role in all areas of our economy.

Jennifer Murray (left) Gavin McGarrigle (right) speaking at Unifor podium
Samia Hashi headshot

Samia Hashi was elected as Unifor’s new Ontario Regional Director telling delegates “Thank you so much for believing in me and believing I can do this work,” she said. “I may look young, but I have the passion and drive. I promise you I have your back and please don’t forget the connection we have. Just know that I’ll be there.”

Group of Unifor executives posing with Dave Churchill and his Bud Jimmerfield award

Dave Churchill from Local 28 was awarded the Bud Jimmerfield for his work to protect the lives and well-being of workers.

Ten years of organizing victories were celebrated with a panel discussion that covered hard-earned organizing wins in rural communities, how to win against anti-union employers, and key strategies to bring workers together in workplaces.

Read the full day two Canadian Council story.

Read the full Bud Jimmerfield Award story.

Canadian Council focuses on mental health awareness on closing day

On the third and final day, Council focused on supporting mental health in the workplace as delegates heard from guest speaker Kendra Fisher, a past member of Team Canada’s hockey program, who shared her brave and personal journey with mental illness.

Kendra Fisher speaking at Unifor podium

Kendra's story is one of enduring perseverance, acceptance, and the importance of not struggling alone.

A mental health panel then explored the important role of unions in bargaining collective agreements that both address members' mental health needs and also get to the root causes of how workplaces contribute to poor mental health.

Delegates stepped up to the mic to share how their locals have won profound contracts that tackle mental health head on, including having a formal way to remove hazards, address workloads, and create new standards of workplace support for improved mental health.

Canadian Council 2023 delegates from Manitoba also served an Emergency Resolution that aims to put pressure on all levels of government to support families seeking justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Read the full day three Canadian Council story.