Labour 150



The year 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the Toronto & York Region, Labour Council. For a century and a half, working people have organized collectively around a vision of economic and social justice.  It’s been a remarkable journey, and the lessons from our past provide a guide for anyone working for a more just society today- and tomorrow.

We are in the Dish with One Spoon Territory. Our story began on the land of Indigenous communities and has been forged with those who have come from around the world as immigrants or refugees to build Canada’s largest urban centre.

One hundred and fifty years ago, a small group of trade unionists came together to give life to an idea – the creation of a collective voice for working people in Toronto. On April 12th, 1871 the Toronto Trades Assembly was founded.

Today the Labour Council represents over 220,000 union members in every sector of the economy. Working people in Toronto and York Region have come a long way since 1871. The gains we have won – through collective bargaining and political campaigns – could hardly have been dreamed of by those who started 150 years ago. Together we did transform society and lift up the quality of life of all Canadians.

But what about the world of work today?  Will there be decent jobs, with dignity and fair wages? Will children be able to breathe clean air and live in harmony with their neighbours?

If we look to the legacy of those who came before us, their wisdom and their courage – we find the answers. Together we can find collective voice and fight for a better world. And as we continue this journey, together we will - build the power of people to win social, economic, climate and racial justice for generations to come.

Learn more through stories, photographs, timelines, music and video at



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