The final day of Unifor’s Ontario Regional Council began with Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff issuing a call for delegates to campaign to support a national pharmacare plan.
“Everyone in this audience knows someone who isn’t able to afford their medication as prescribed,” said Yussuff. “We need a national, publicly-administered universal prescription drug plan that covers everyone in Canada, regardless of their income, age, or where they work or live.”
In honour of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women members of the Ontario Women’s Committee, along with other activists, wore outfits modeled after “The Handmaid’s Tale” as they conducted a sombre procession lit by the lights of delegates cell phones. Following a moving tribute to women facing gender-based violence and discrimination the committee encouraged all members to contact Premier Wynne to demand action.
The theme of political action was carried throughout the afternoon as members engaged in a roundtable discussion on a provincial election strategy. Delegates then voted to accept the Ontario Regional Director’s recommendation to mobilize and stop Patrick Brown and the Ontario Conservatives from forming government next June.
To fill vacancies on the Ontario Regional Council Executive Board elections were held for several positions. The position of Chairperson and two seats on the Health and Safety Committee were contested while other committee positions and member – at – large spots were filled by acclamation. Scott McIlmoyle from Local 112 was elected on the first ballot.
Council also heard from delegates representing CAMI, Northstar, Medical Laboratories of Windsor and Bell on shared challenges encountered in bargaining along with representatives from the Forestry, Media, Rail and Retail on lobbying efforts and issues faced in those sectors.
In keeping with the union’s broader social mandate Unifor and CN Rail, through the Canadian Community Fund CN Rail Project, presented a donation of $250,000 to Cindy Blackstock for the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.
"Unifor is proud to support the Caring Society in their work to empower Indigenous children, youth and families,” said National President Jerry Dias. “Supporting initiatives like the Caring Society’s Spirit Bear education program as well as other worthy organizations that are working to improve our society is why the Canadian Community Fund was created.”
The donation will support the Caring Society’s reconciliation-based activities, centralize reconciliation learning on its website, translate materials into French and five Indigenous languages and distribute to low income schools free of charge.
“Children are experts in love and fairness and take naturally to reconciliation,” said Blackstock, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. “This donation will support our efforts to help all Indigenous and non-Indigenous children learn about our shared history in ways that promote the full and proper implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action."
As Council came to an end Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director looked to the future. “I have no doubt we can deliver and fight off a PC government. Let’s keep up the work, together we can continue to push for a better Ontario.”
To view a photo gallery of Ontario Regional Council visit Facebook.com/UniforCanada