Beginning on May 8, 2023, the Canadian Labour Congress will hold its 30th Constitutional Convention in Montreal. The theme for this year’s convention is “Canada’s Unions – Lifting Everyone Up”.
To help build a better future for all, the Toronto & York Region Labour Council has made a number of resolutions on the following issues:
- Climate Action
- Health Care
- Fair Taxation
- Racism in Canada
- Municipal Powers
- Refugees in Canada
Read on to explore each resolution in detail. For those attending next week’s CLC convention, we ask you to support these resolutions.
The CLC will explore all possible ways of implementing the 2021 Climate Action Agenda - including a major conference on climate justice and just transition, and asking every affiliate to utilize Environment Committees at the national or regional level to help shape a labour-led agenda on climate justice.
Will Ensure that workers are represented at the federal level as national Just transition legislation/policies are implemented.
Because this is a logical next step given the CLC’s 2021 comprehensive policy paper on climate action, with specific plans to tackle key issues arising from the climate emergency.
Because the impact of COVID, economic disruption, inflation, and an energy crisis sparked by the invasion of the Ukraine have distracted from the urgency of addressing climate.
Because Canada’s goals for keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees have fallen short every year, while conservative provincial premiers continue to sabotage efforts to reduce GHG emissions.
(148 words. Inspired by CURC)
The CLC will call upon the Federal government to expand funding for Canada’s public health care system, with dedicated transfers for investments addressing the staffing crisis, develop and fund a national dental care program; develop a universal national pharmacare program, develop national standards for LTC and Homecare.
Will call upon the Federal government to demand that jurisdictions receiving this funding comply and align with the principles in the Canada Health Act. Prioritizing public facilities and services is critical.
Because the pandemic showed that Canada’s health care system is grossly underfunded and is unable to provide adequate care.
Because many workers and others are not covered by health plans and lack access to dental care and pharmacare.
Because some jurisdictions are using federal health funding in ways that do not comply or align with the Canada Health Act, including by funding private health facilities and expanding private long-term care.
(139 words. Inspired by CURC)
The CLC will call upon the Federal Government to take action on fair taxation reform, including: Implementing a wealth tax; a tax on windfall oil and gas profits; closing regressive tax loopholes; tax changes to financial institutions that have made strong profits during the pandemic; lowering the cap on stock option for CEOs and top executives.
Will address tax havens owned by the wealthy by strengthening the powers of the CRA to investigate the rich and corporations who use them.
Because the tax system has become inequitable and unfair.
Because workers pay their income taxes at source with relatively few permitted deductions while the wealthy often pay after the fact, with numerous write-offs and loopholes, and based only on what they report.
Because, it is time for those who have amassed incredible wealth to contribute to Canada’s collective future.
Racism in Canada
The CLC will expand and deepen its human rights/anti-racism training within organized labour to strengthen community solidarity actions that fight back against and neutralize the far right's efforts to bring white supremacy into the mainstream. By building a broad coalition, the CLC will create a vocal opposition to blatant public racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and against far-right fringe leaders of the convoy who have manipulated COVID anxieties, concerns and hardships to create deeply troubling divisions in society.
Because the 2022 convoy’s tactics of bullying and harassment of communities across the country was supported by white supremacists in positions of power, influence, and authority.
Because unions, councils, provincial federations and CLC spoke out publicly against last year’s events and stood with community allies.
Because now is the time to learn from our response to the first years of the pandemic - in preparation for whatever challenges COVID brings in the future.
(148 words. Inspired by CURC)
The CLC will support legislation that will amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act and the Pension Standards Act, 1985; and will give pensioners’ first priority for unfunded liabilities in private-sector. It will support defined benefit company pension plans that would put pension liability ahead of creditors.
Will demand that the Federal Government ensure public pensions are more viable for retired workers by increasing OAS, GIS and CPP for all those eligible.
Because, workers deserve pensions that are both decent and secure.
Because, seniors are suffering with a higher cost of living, and are struggling to pay bills, and sometimes cutting medications to do so.
Because, around half of Canadians have no employer pension, even fewer younger workers have employer pensions, and only 15 to 20 percent of middle-income Canadians, who are without an employer pension plan, have saved anywhere near enough for retirement.
The CLC will call on the federal government to tackle Canada’s housing affordability crisis in Canada by improving access to social and affordable housing for all. It means increasing funding levels of the National Housing Strategy, addressing its many gaps, and expanding the supply of non-market housing including a return to the co-operative housing vision that spurred affordable housing development and included the participation of unions.
Because Canadian workers are facing a housing affordability crisis with the increasing disconnect between rents, home prices, and income levels.
Because of soaring prices for home sales and recent hikes in interest rates, household incomes aren’t keeping pace with rising rates. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands find themselves on long waitlists for social housing, as homelessness increases in many Canadian cities.
Because many - whether in major urban centers or in rural areas - are struggling to find an affordable and decent place to live.
The CLC will convene a discussion among all interested Labour Councils about a new deal for cities, and what that might look like, including appropriate funding arrangements and powers.
Because municipal delivery of programs and services has become far more complex over time and the funding structures which support municipalities have not kept up or have been reduced.
Because workers live and work in these communities and want to continue to be able to afford to do both.
Because almost 3⁄4 of Canadians live in large cities.
Because municipalities are considered creatures of the provinces and territories and therefore have no constitutional protections.
Because we should challenge those jurisdictions that have trampled on the democratic rights of municipalities and their residents and lessons should be shared across jurisdictions.
Because the federal government is an important partner in municipal program and service delivery.
Refugees in Canada
The CLC will work with like-minded partners and different levels of government to inform the public about the humanitarian needs of refugees and work to eradicate the myths surrounding refugees.
Will call on the Canadian government to increase the number of refugees welcomed to Canada and to act fairly on receiving refugees from diverse countries and nationalities.
Because myths about refugees promote stereotyping, and discrimination, are rooted in systemic racism. These myths falsely propagate that refugees are a burden on Canadian social programs, pose a security risk to Canada and are queue-jumpers. The truth is that refugees undergo rigorous security checks before entering Canada, are not jumping any queues, and are an overall economic benefit to the Canadian economic growth.
Because most refugees are settled in the Global South in countries like Pakistan, Iran, and Uganda, Canada must do its part in receiving its share of the world’s refugees.
(147 words. Supporting the resolution submitted by the Hamilton and District Labour Council)
The CLC will amend Article 5-4. a. of the Constitution by addition to read:
5-4. a. All affiliates must require their local unions to join federations and labour councils where such exist, or members from those locals will not be permitted to register as delegates to a CLC Convention.
10-4. a. Local unions in Canada of affiliates and directly chartered local unions get one delegate for 1,000 or fewer members and one additional delegate for each additional 500 members or major fraction thereof unless such participation is not permitted under 5-4. a.
Because, the Constitution requires that affiliates must require local unions to join federations and labour councils yet there is no remedy to persuade or encourage affiliation to such bodies if a union's internal governance wouldn't allow for such measures.
Because, Labour Councils and the labour movement are stronger when more unions and locals are affiliated
*For the pdf version of this statement, please visit here.