Summit sets up Round Table


The Good Jobs Summit was only the start.

The weekend of ideas and debates ended today with formation of a Round Table group to include leading Canadian business people, student leaders, politicians and labour leaders tasked with finding ways to create good jobs.

"The hard work of this Summit will continue with this Round Table group," Unifor National President Jerry Dias said. "We have here a group representing different parts of Canadian society, and we'll need all their best efforts and resolve to create good jobs in this country."

Members of the Round Table will be announced in the coming days and weeks. The primary role of the Round Table will be to build on the momentum generated by Good Jobs Summit to ensure that we develop strategies and policies that will create the good jobs we agree we must – and can – have.

The Good Jobs Summit began Friday evening with a panel discussion by some of Canada’s leading economic thinkers, talking about what makes a good job and the conditions needed to create them.

“A good job is where they treat you as a human being and not just a productive input,” said Unifor Economist Jim Stanford, who was on the economics panel.

Canadian Federation of Students National Chairperson Jessica McCormick said students today face challenges unlike those faced by previous generations, and stand to become the first generation to not do better than the one before it.

"Students and young workers need good jobs to pay down record levels of student debt and build fulfilling careers," McCormick said.

Dias said it is important for organized labour to work with business and government leaders to find creative solution to create good, full-time jobs.

“Temporary jobs are not the way to go. Permanent, full-time jobs build communities,” Dias said in a closing panel at the Summit.

Also on the closing panel were McCormick, J.D. Irving co-CEO Jim Irving, former Toronto mayor and World Wildlife Fund Canada CEO David Miller, Metro Vancouver Alliance Organizer Deborah Littman Public Service Alliance of Canada National President Robyn Benson, Canadian Pacific Vice-President for Human Resources and Labour Relations Peter Edwards and Quebec Solidarity Fund Vice-President of Public and Corporate Affairs Mario Tremblay. Communications professional and project consultant Kathleen Monk moderated the panel.

Speakers at the Summit over the weekend included Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, former advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama and CNN commentator Van Jones, GE Canada CEO Elyse Allan, Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff, the Round Table members, and more.

Ideas for job creation were discussed in a series of workshops on topics such as green jobs, the challenges facing young and old workers, living wages, labour standards, rural and regional economies and precarious jobs.

In a question from the audience during the economics panel, Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students in Ontario, said he knows many people who work 40 hours a week or more un unpaid internships, afraid to say anything for fear that they’ll never work in that field again.

“All work deserves money,” he said.

Dias said such stories are why the Summit was needed.

“Young people today are being absolutely betrayed, and we’re here to do something about it,” he said.

The Summit was organized by Unifor, Ryerson University, the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.