22 September, 2020 1:55 PM

Sept 22 - Labour Council News

In this weeks' Toronto & York Region Labour Council news: 

  • Forward Together: Final Push for Pharmacare
  • TONIGHT: #LightUpLive - Red Alert for Live Events
  • #SAFESEPTEMBER: Demand Better!
  • FRIDAY: Global Day of Climate Action
  • SPOTLIGHT ON... Labour & Climate
  • Progress Toronto: Fall Training Sessions
  • Events Reminder




Parliament resumes Wednesday. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than three million people living in Canada were already dealing with inadequate prescription drug coverage, or no coverage at all, and struggling to pay for their medication. Today, mass layoffs triggered by the pandemic have left millions of additional people without workplace drug benefits and they cannot afford medications for themselves and their families.

Canada is the only country in the world with universal health care that doesn’t also have universal pharmacare. Instead, we pay some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world. As a result, one million Canadians report cutting back on food and heat to afford their prescriptions, while other families remortgage their homes to cover the costs of expensive life-saving drugs.

Our current patchwork system is grossly inequitable and punishes the poor, part-time workers, contract workers and many others who cannot afford the medications they desperately need.



The live events and arts sectors have been devastated by the pandemic with many people are facing choices between food and rent, or are facing evictions. Production personnel and artists, companies all across production and entertainment are fading to black. 

On Tuesday, 22 September 2020, an hour after sundown, concert halls, homes, tourist attractions and venues across the country to light the night red – raising awareness for an industry that is still dark. CN Tower, the Canadian Opera Company and the Toronto Sign will be red in support. 

Date: Tuesday, September 22 

Time: After sunsent (8pm) 

Where: Over 120 venues in GTA

More information and participating venues can be found here:



We’re hearing from parents, educators and staff who are anxious about their safety while trying to provide the best education experience possible for students.  The Ford government is derelict in its responsibilities for a safe return to school – refusing to dedicate the funding needed for school boards to implement adequate measures.

In case we forget, at this time last year all of the education unions were in bargaining and starting job action to stop that massive cuts to education, and to stop class sizes becoming much larger!

Read our #SafeSeptember statement – and share with your union’s members.

Meanwhile, York Region Public Health have produced a series of fun, kid-friendly COVID posters along with a number of other great resources:



Join us on September 25th for a Global Day of Climate Action! The action, organised by the #FridaysForFuture movement, will be a mass sit-in to demand climate justice and a just, green recovery from COVID from all levels of government.

The meeting place will be Bay and Wellesley West and once folks arrive there they will be directed towards seating areas. Masks will be mandatory, and our action will enable everyone attending to stay 6 feet apart.

Please read the safety and security brief if you’d like to attend.

Click here for outreach materials including sample posters are available to print at home and bring with you.

Date: Friday, September 25

When: 12:00pm – 3:00pm

Where: Bay and Wellesley West




Every week, we will bring you a snapshot of an initiative or organisation doing great work within our labour community.

Climate change presents all of us in the labour movement an opportunity. We can use our skills and knowledge to plan a truly sustainable, low-carbon economy with good jobs for all.

We have overcome previous insurmountable changes in the past:  from healthcare to pensions and maternity leave — unions bargained benefits for their members and then worked with allies to win them as universal programs. Climate change is the biggest threat to our future, and many unions are stepping up to the challenge.

Labour efforts first started with curbing workplace toxins and pollution. Today it includes work in every sector — from retrofitting buildings, to reducing waste, to greening the curriculum in schools. Together we can create a collective path to a low-carbon future.



Progress Toronto is offering 10 free trainings and workshops for our 2020 Fall Training Series! Due to COVID-19, all of our trainings are happening online.

Workshops this Fall include digital campaigning, how to meet with your local politician, City Budget 101 with Councillor Mike Layton, using your personal narrative to move people to action, and more!

You can sign up for any session and all workshops are free. See the full list below and click to find out more.

They offer their trainings for free so that cost isn’t a barrier. If you can, support their work by chipping in $10 to our Training Fund or by donating when you sign up.

WEDNESDAY: Labour Community Advocate Training Registration Deadline

Gain the skills you need to become a stronger leader in your workplace and community with Labour Community Services' LCAT program online.
To learn more or sign up, click here  or please contact Najib at s.soufian@labourcommunityservices.ca.

FRIDAY: United Way - Show Your Local Love Day

United Way is labour’s charity of choice – our decades-long partner supporting neighbourhood based social services, and funding our Labour Community Services programs. Fundraising campaigns are rolling out in workplaces large and small.  This Friday is Show Your Local Love Day across greater Toronto – check it out 

OCTOBER 1: Delegates Meeting.

All union members welcome. More details to come.




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