Voices from the Frontline

The COVID-19 pandemic is a historic moment, and workers are being seen with a new reverence and respect. We want to make sure we capture our members’ stories, to make sure no one forgets the sacrifices they are making.  That’s why Labour Council, in partnership with the Broadbent Institute, is producing Voices from the Frontline, a 4-part panel series where we pick a theme each week and talk directly to workers on the frontline.

This is the real, raw story of what's happening with frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each event features frontline workers from a given sector (healthcare, service sector, public sector, and social service sector). We’ll be asking them questions such as: What are they seeing on the frontline? Do they feel supported? Why are they doing this work? How is their family dealing with it? And, what kind of toll has this taken on them? Then, we’ll hear from labour leadership about challenges facing the sector as a whole as a result of the pandemic.

The series will be a window into the world of our essential workers: a great way for cross-sectoral learning and building solidarity within our movement.

Episode Guide

Click to jump to the episode.

FB_Voices_Graphic_Ep_1.jpgEpisode 1: Healthcare

Episode 1 streamed live on April 29, 2020. Catch the episode in its entirety with the video linked below!

In Episode 1, we hear from frontline healthcare workers. 


  • Joy Borras, a long term care nurse (SEIU Healthcare)
  • Jen Rajkumar, a respiratory therapist (OPSEU Local 575)
  • Charlotte Clarke, a paramedic (Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416)

The local members from SEIU, OPSEU, and CUPE 416 speak about their own experiences on the job. Then, we hear from their union leadership about issues and trends affecting their membership featuring:

  • Kingsley Kwok, President, OPSEU 575
  • Jackie Walker, Nursing Division President, SEIU Healthcare
  • Mike Merriman, Paramedic Services Unit Chair, Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416


FB_Voices_Graphic_Episode2_NEW.jpgEpisode 2: Service Sector

Episode 2 streamed live on May 6, 2020. Catch the episode in its entirety with the video linked below!

In episode 2, we hear from frontline service sector workers.

Speaker lineup:

  • Josie Barberi, grocery worker (UFCW 1006A)
  • Ivan Ostos, food delivery bike courier (Foodsters United)
  • Gagandeep Kaur, Warehouse Workers Centre (CUPW)

Union leadership speakers are:

  • Glacier Samuel, Union Rep, UFCW 1006A
  • Qaiser Maroof, President, CUPW Toronto
  • Liisa Schofield – Organizer, CUPW


 FB_Voices_Graphic_Episode3_B.jpgEpisode 3: Public Sector

Episode 3 streamed live on May 13, 2020. Catch the episode in its entirety with the video linked below!

In episode 3, we hear from workers in public transit, education, and shelter services.

Frontline speakers:

  • Camella Brown, shelter worker (CUPE Local 79)
  • Ed Cunningham, transit worker (ATU 113)
  • Mary Marcello, elementary teacher (OECTA York Region)

Union leadership speakers:

  • Carlos Santos, President, ATU 113
  • Filomena Ferraro, President, OECTA York Region
  • Caroline Ambrose, Shelter Services Unit Chair, CUPE Local 79


 list-Ep4__Social_Service.pngEpisode 4: Social Services

Episode 3 will be LIVE at 2 pm on Wednesday, May 20! RSVP now to become an active participant of this webinar.

You'll also be able to catch the livestream of the webinar via our Facebook page. Be sure to like and follow our page to be alerted when the stream starts.

This episode will profile workers in agencies and non-profits that focus on serving community. Speakers are TBC and will be posted soon!

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