Inclusive spaces for 2SLGBTQI+ children: “For us, it’s a question of human right” -COPE President, Annette Toth

Below is a statement from the Executive Vice President of Canadian Labor Congress, Larry Rousseau regarding the rise of far-right and anti-trans groups who oppose the policy of inclusion of 2SLGBTQI+ children in Canadian schools.

COPE / SEPB unreservedly supports the CLC initiative and strongly denounces the actions taken by far-right groups.

“For COPE, it is a question of human rights. Attacking the policy of inclusion of 2SLGBTQI+ children is absurd and demonstrates a blatant lack of empathy and compassion. A progressive organization like ours must loudly denounce actions aimed at further isolating minority groups,” explains COPE President Annette Toth.

We invite you to read the following statement and take appropriate action:


Today, far-right and anti-trans groups organized protests against education policies designed to make schools safer and more inclusive spaces for 2SLGBTQI+ children.

Billed as the #1MillionMarch4Children, these groups are calling for parents to remove their children from school and join protests, rallies and other gatherings. Over 80 locations across the country have been announced as participating, with larger events planned in major cities. You will find a somewhat comprehensive listing of protest sites on the website of the so-called “anti-woke” organization, Blueprint for Canada. Note that while most events are taking place on September 20, some are planned for other days of this week.

Here are some ways you can take action against this disturbing rise of hatred and extremism:

  • Make a strong statement opposing any attack on 2SLGBTQI+ rights and these hate-motivated efforts to undermine the progress we have made in ensuring our schools are safe and welcoming learning environments for all students.
  • Amplify and support local, provincial and national allies who are leading the pushback against this growing hate movement and who are often the target of attacks, including EgaleMomentum Canada, and the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
  • We encourage you to reach out to local organizations and networks who may be planning counter-protests on this day, including already-established union flying squads, to get involved in planning, and to promote any planned counter-protests to your members. Some federations of labour have begun a coordinated effort and we encourage you to get involved.
  • Consider making a financial or in-kind donation to local groups and networks that are coordinating counter-protest action. Most are grassroots and led by volunteers, many of whom are queer and trans folk who have been dealing with this hatred on a daily basis. This might include donations, megaphones, food and water, masks, printing, marshall vests and trained marshalls, meeting space, etc.

Today’s events targeted  schools, school board offices, city or town halls, legislatures and offices of provincial politicians. If your local has a flying squad, I hope they were mobilized to be at these events and remain a counter-protest. connected with local 2SLGBTQI+ organizations. This will not be the last time these hate filled protests will take place so we need to be prepared for now and into the future. This guide provides tips on safety at counter-protests.

As you can imagine, today was a challenging day for our 2SLGBTQI+ members and the community, and these events raise serious health and safety concerns for workers, students, and community members regardless of gender or sexual orientation. We want our queer and trans friends, colleagues, and family members to know that they are loved and valued, and that their safety matters to all of us.

It’s important to pay attention to this movement, as their rhetoric and demands are being validated by conservative politicians in several provinces and echoed by the federal Conservatives. Education policies are being rolled back in at least two provinces, and under consideration elsewhere, with additional open musing about changes to legislation.

Bigotry and violence that threatens the fundamental human rights of 2SLGBTQI+ people require a strong unified response rooted in solidarity from all workers, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. An injury to one, is an injury to all.

A strong show of union solidarity for the 2SLGBTQI+ communities in the face of persistent and rising hatred and bigotry is essential.  COPE/SEPB remains 100% opposed to all forms of hate. sing hatred and bigotry is absolutely essential. We will continue to keep you posted on developments and encourage you to connect with our Human Rights Department as well as our regional staff if you have questions regarding our ongoing work or wish to share information.


Forced kiss on a soccer player: “There is nothing trivial about this gesture and progressive organizations like ours must denounce it loud and clear” – Annette Toth, President of COPE/SEPB

The Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE/SEPB) stands with the millions of people around the world to denounce the forced kiss suffered by soccer player Jenni Hermoso after the Spanish women’s team win at the World Cup on August 20th.

In the festivities after the victory, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales took Ms. Hermoso’s head in his hands and then kissed her on the mouth without her consent.

“This gesture is not trivial and progressive organizations like ours must denounce this gender based physical assault. With movements like #MeToo, our message is clear and it can no longer be ignored: this behavior is completely unacceptable.” said COPE/SEPB President Annette Toth.

Not Just a Kiss

In the days following the assault, many people leapt defend Luis Rubiales, calling his actions a “a simple kiss”. The only thing simple is this: Luis Rubiales must be removed from his position of power, immediately.

“To trivialize this assault is to invalidate the discomfort and indignation of millions of people who witnessed the scene live. What’s more, this trivialization validates the rape culture in which our society has found itself for too long. We say no, enough is enough! There is no place for this kind of behavior in our world,” concludes Ms. Toth.

As a progressive union COPE/SEPB stands up for fairness, dignity, and respect for all. We are committed to breaking down barriers and fighting against systems of oppression and discrimination, in society and within our own structures. We will not be silent.

Together Always, United in Our Diversity

Word from Larry Rousseau Executive Vice-President of CTC: 

As the 2023 Pride season rapidly approaches, the CLC is happy to share materials to assist affiliates in their preparations for events across the country.

This year, we have chosen to adopt the ILGA World IDAHOBIT Committee’s theme for 2023 Pride, “Together Always, United in Our Diversity.” The emphasis of this theme highlights the importance of solidarity, an action we know well in our labour movement and that is paramount in defending the hard-earned gains we have made to advance 2SLGBTQI+ rights in Canada.

It is no secret that Pride organizations from coast to coast have been the targets of homophobic and transphobic hate and violence, and these attacks are irrefutably connected to larger, global efforts of alt-right and white supremacist organizing. That is why it is so important that we celebrate this year by communicating labour’s commitment to human rights. To be loud and clear, that we as a movement will bring our solidarity and strength to the front lines of every Pride event we can attend, to vehemently defend against the bigotry and ignorance peddled by the far right. That we will celebrate the richness and contributions of 2SLGBTQI+ people in Canada, and that side by side, we will continue to push for equity and justice both in the workplace and in our communities.

To help you incorporate this theme and focus into your planning for this year’s Pride events, we have developed some tools for you to use. We invite you to use these materials and customize them as you see fit.

The CLC Pride 2023 Campaign Toolkit includes:

This Pride season, let’s make it clear that Canada’s unions view all forms of 2SLGBTQI+ phobia and violence as an injury to the progressive vision we will forever champion for our country. It is time we push back against the hate and celebrate with Pride!

COPE Signed Water Justice Manifesto

COPE / SEPB joins Public Services International (PSI) and allies to critique the absurd UN policies for most SDGs that suggest that we use public subsidies to ‘attract’ private capital.

The United Nations designated by 22 March as the day to celebrate water around the world. 2023 will see thousands flock to UN headquarters in New York for the first UN-wide water conference since the one in Mar del Plata, Argentina in 1977. PSI will be there with affiliates FNV from the Netherlands, FNU from Brazil and DC37 from the USA.

However, the UN Water Conference 2023 is a missed opportunity.  It lasts only three days.  It will not result in new policies based on a thorough review of past progress or failings.  Instead, the UN wants to see governments, businesses and NGOs make voluntary, non-binding commitments of actions they will carry out in order to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on water and sanitation – SDG6.  For example, agri-business giants might commit to reduce the amount they pollute water, or to help some communities close to their factories have better access to water.

The main problem with SDG6 is the way to pay for improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure.  Many billions of people on the planet don’t have access to safe drinking water or sanitation services.  Existing water and sanitation infrastructure needs serious upgrading and improvements, both to extend services and ensure safety, but also to deal with the threats of the climate crisis.  More staff need to be hired, trained and retained, and their wages and working conditions improved.  Sanitation workers require major improvements, first moving from informal to formal employment, then reducing their massive health and safety risks.

All of this needs reliable, predictable long-term finance.  But the UN policies for most SDGs, including water, suggest that we use public subsidies to ‘attract’ private capital.  This implies that water services need to be made profitable enough to attract global finance capital.  Projects need to be ‘bankable’.  Countries must change their laws and regulations to provide the ‘enabling environment’ to protect private investors.  This ensures that the rights of investors dominate human rights or the rights of nature, including in the courts and in arbitrations.

PSI is working with unions and allies to critique these absurd policies.  Our Water Justice Movement is committed to defend human rights, including by supporting public services, as well as other community-based formats.  There is a common will to fight privatisation, which has a long list of structural problems that won’t go away with new wording, such as innovative or blended finance.

Together, the Water Justice Movement published a Manifesto for release in New York.  The Manifesto contains a set of core principles and values that can guide our work for the decades to come.  Members of the Movement will participate in the debates in the UN, in side events and in a number of meetings around the city.

The Movement will call for reform of the UN’s governance structures for the water sector.  Amongst others, we insist that the UN meet more often to resolve issues on water; that more community activists, trade unions, public water operators and mayors are involved in these meetings, and that industry and agro-business are held accountable for their uses and misuses of our precious water resources – voluntary measures are not enough.

Water Justice Manifesto

Source: PSI

List of  organizations that have signed on:

Name of entity or collective Country 
Acción Colectiva Socioambiental, A.C. México
Acción contra el Hambre España
Aceh Wetland Foundation Indonesia
Acueducto comunitario Reserva Familiar Colombia
Acueducto comunitario Reserva Familiar Colombia
Africa Water Justice Network Ghana
Agua y Vida: Mujeres, Derechos y Ambiente México
Aguacero tecnologia y salud comunitaria México
Águas Sem Fronteiras Brasil
Aigua és Vida Catalonia
Alianza contra la Pobreza Energética
Alianza Regional Contra La Minería en el Norte del Tolima Colombia
Alianza Verde Spain
Alliance pour la Maitrise de l’Eau et l’Energie Cameroun
Amigos del Río San Rodrigo A.C. México
An Organization for Socio-Economic Development-AOSED Bangladesh
AOSED-An Organization for Socio-Economic Development Bangladesh
Articulação Estadual das Comunidades Tradicionais de Fundos e Fechos de Pasto – Bahia Brasil
ASA México
Asamblea Social del Agua Mexico
Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad Colombia
Asociación Comunitaria Unida por el Agua y la Agricultura ACUA El Salvador
Asociación de Afectados por el Proyecto Hidroelectrico El Quimbo-ASOQUIMBO- Colombia
Asociación de Usuarios del Agua de Saltillo AUAS, A.C. México
Asociación de Vecinos de Carabanchel Alto España
Asociación Española de Operadores Públicos de Abastecimiento y Saneamiento (AEOPAS) España
Asociación LiertAgua potable España
Asociación Regional Centroamericana para el Agua y el Ambiente. ARCA Costa Rica
Asociación Salvadoreña de Ayuda Humanitaria PRO-VIDA El Salvador
Associação Água Pública Portugal
Associação Águas do Nordeste Brasil
Associação Brasileira de Reforma Agrária ABRA Brasil
Associação dos Aposentados e Pensionistas da Sabesp Brasil
Associação dos Engenheiros da Sabesp – AESabesp Brasil
Associação dos Profissionais Universitários da Sabesp – APU Brasil
Associação Programa 1 Milhão de Cisternas Brasil
Associació de Municipis i Entitats per l’Aigua Pública (AMAP) Cataluña (España)
Association pour la défense des droits à l’eau et à l’assainissement Sénégal
Attac France France
Berliner Wassertisch Germany
Binodan Tripura Bangladesh
Blue Planet Project International
Botelho & Global Associates Brasil
Breathe Easy Susquehanna County USA
Butterfly Effect NGO coalition Canada
Cabildo por las Mujeres del cantón Cuenca-Ecuador Ecuador
Caminos de Agua Mexico
Canoa Habitat Popular Argentina
Casa Armaluz, Organización de Educación-Acción Comunitaria del Pueblo Originario de San Pedro Cuajimalpa, CDMX. México
Cátedra del Tajo UCLM-Soliss España
CCOO Madrid Area de Medio Ambiente y Movilidad España
CEAMUJER Nicaragua
CEDAC – Centro de Ação Comunitária Brasil
CENSAT Agua Viva Colombia
Center for sustainable development of Serbia Serbia
Central Única dos Trabalhadores – CUT Brasil Brasil
Centre Tricontinental Belgium
Centro de estudios independientes, Color Tierra -Universidad de la Tierra Manizales-Caldas y Suroccidente Colombiano Colombia
Centro Ibérico de Restauración Fluvial España y Portugal
CeVI – Centro di Volontariato Internazionale Italy
CGT – Confederación General del Trabajo España
Chile Sin Ecocidio Chile
Closing the Water Gap Working Group United States
CMP – Central de Movimentos Populares Brasil
CNAPE Guinea
Coalición de Organizaciones Mexicanas por el Derecho al Agua (COMDA) México
Coalition Eau France
COESUS Coalición LatinoAmericana contra el Fracking Brasil
Colectiva de mujeres kawoq El Salvador
Colectiva PaziFlora
Colectivo Ansur Colombia
Colectivo Educación para la Paz y los Derechos Humanos A.C. (CEPAZDH) México
Colectivo Sí a la Vida México
Coletivo Popular Direito à Cidade de Porto Velho – Rondônia Brasil
Collectif citoyen du Val-de-Travers “Non aux forages d’hydrocarbures” Suisse
Colonia Maya México
Comisión Legal Sol España
Comisiones Obreras “CCOO”. España
Comissão Socioambiental da Diocese de São José dos Campos Brasil
Comité ambiental de Piedras Tolima Colombia Sur América Colombia
Comité Ambiental En Defensa De La Vida Colombia
Comite Oscar Romero – Sicsal Chile Chile
Committee in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples of the Americas (CSIA-Nitassinan) France
Company of the Daughters of Charity United States
Comunidades SETAA Colombia
CONAM – Confederação Nacional das Associações de Moradores Brasil
Concejo Ciudadano del Agua El Platanal Mexico
Confederação Nacional das Associações de Moradores Brasil
Confederación de Jubilados México
Confédération des Syndicats Autonomes du Sénégal (CSA) Sénégal
Consejo Ciudadano por el Agua de Yucatán México
Consejo Ciudadano por el Agua y el Territorio en la Cuenca de Jovel, San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
Construção Coletiva O Futuro Que Queremos Brasil
Contraloria Ciudadana del Agua Mexico
Cooperativa Sagrada Familia Honduras
Coordinadora de Organizaciones Campesinas e Indígenas de la Huasteca Potosina AC Mexico
Corporación Ecológica y Cultural Penca de Sábila Colombia
Corporación Privada para el Desarrollo de Aysén Chile
Corporación Programa La Caleta, CHILE Chile
Corporate Accountability Global
CTC-42 (Collectif pour la transition citoyenne dans la Loire) Brasil
Defensores do planeta Brasil
Derechos Humanos Madrid España
Earth Ethics, Inc. United States
Eau Secours Canada
Ecologistas en Acción – Ecofontaneros España
Ecologistas en Acción -Ecofontaneros- Zaragoza España
Ecologistas en Acción Valladolid España
Ecologistas en Acción-La Rioja España
Ecologistes en Acció de Catalunya Catalunya
Edmund rice international USA
Educating Girls and Young Women for Development-EGYD Zambia
Encuentro Ciudadano Lagunero México
End Water Poverty
ENDA Colombia Colombia
Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación A.C. México
Espacio Común 15M España
European Water Movement Continental
Experts-Solidaires France
Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional – FASE Brasil
Federação Interestadual de Sindicatos de Engenheiros- Fisenge Brasil
Federação Nacional dos Urbanitarios – FNU Brasil
Federación de Consumidores y Usuarios CECU España
Federación de Mujeres Indígenas Huaynakana Kamatahuara Kana Peru
Federación de Servicios a la Ciudadanía de CCOO España
Federación de Trabajadores del Agua Potable y Alcantarillado del Perú – FENTAP Perú
Federación Ecologistas en Acción de la Comunidad de Madrid España
Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging – FNV Overheid Netherlands
FEDEVI Argentina Argentina
FENATEMA – Federação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Água, Energia e Meio Ambiente Brasil
Food & Water Watch United States of America
Food Empowerment Project USA
Foro Italiano dei Movimenti dell’Acqua-European Water Movement ITALIA-EUROPA
Forum Brasileiro de Ongs e Movimentos Sociais pelo Meio Ambiente – FBOMS Brasil
Fórum de Mulheres do Mercosul Brasil Brasil
Fórum Mudanças Climáticas e Justiça Socioambiental – FMCJS Brasil
Forum Nord-Sud ASBL Belgium
Fracking Free Clare Ireland
Frente Ciudadano en Defensa del Agua y la Vida, BCS México
Freshwater Action Network Mexico (FANMex) México
Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica Brasil
Fundación Abril Bolivia
Fundación Ambiental Molécula Verde
Fundacion ARAYARA Uruguay
Fundacion Chile Sustentable CHILE
Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua España
Fundación Savia por el Compromiso y los Valores España
Fundación venezolana por el derecho a la vivienda Venezuela
Fundacja Strefa Zieleni Poland
Gambá- Grupo Ambientalista da Bahia Brasil
GEEMA – Grupo de Estudos em Educação e Meio Ambiente do Rio de Janeiro Brasil
Geledes Instituto da Mulher Negra Brasil
Gobierno comunitario de chilón Chiapas México
Godfrey Mulinda, Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE) Uganda
Građanski preokret Serbia
GRAMA -Grupo de Acción para el Medio Ambiente- España
GRAUS (Gram Unnayon Sangathon) Bangladesh
Gret France
Grupo de ensino, pesquisa e extensão em saúde e educação ambiental do LAPSA/IOC/ Fiocruz Brasil
Grupo de estudos em Educação Ambiental desde el Sur GEASUR UNIRIO Brasil
Habitat Brasil Brasil
Halimatou Barry Sénégal
HEKS, Swiss Church Aid Switzerland
Hermandad de la Cuenca de la Independencia México
Hydraulique Sans Frontières France
Impulsemos Tolima Colombia
India Peace Centre India
Ingeniería Sin Fronteras Internacional Spain
Inicijativa Eko Barajevo Serbia
INSPIRIT Creatives Germany
Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá Brasil
Instituto de Permacultura da Bahia
Instituto Internacional Arayara Brasil
Instituto Mayor Campesino Colombia
Instituto Popular Memorial de Canudos – IPMC
International Alliance iof Inhabitants Global
International Rivers United States
IPESA – Instituto de Projetos e Pesquisas Socioambientais
iRevolucija Serbia
Join For Water Belgium
Junta de Acción Comunal barrio LA Unión de Caloto Cauca Colombia
Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network (KEWASNET) Kenya
KRuHA (Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak atas Air) / people’s coalition for the right to water
Letizia Herrera Álvarez España
MDN guatemala Guatemala
medicusmundi España
MEDIODES, Consultoría Ambiental y Paisajismo, S.L. España
Mercy International Association – Global Action Global
Mesopotamia Ecology Movement Kurdistan
MORHAN – Movimento de Reintegração das Pessoas Atingidas pela Hanseníase Brasil
Movimento Sócio-Ambiental Caminho das Águas Brasil
Movimiento MOVILIZANDONOS por una cultura de derechos de niños, niñas y Adolescentes en Chile Chile
Movimiento por la Defensa del Agua, la Tierra y el Medio Ambiente (MODATIMA) de Chile Chile
MulherAção Cotia Brasil
NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark Denmark
Nossa Horta Brasil
Obispado de Aysen Chile
Observatio Latinoamericano por la Accion Climática América Latina
Observatorio Ciudadano para la conservación del Patrimonio de la Sierra de Guadarrama España
Observatório Nacional dos Direitos à Água e ao Saneamento – ONDAS Brasil
Ocean Conservation Research USA
Oficina para América Latina de la Coalición Internacional para el Hábitat México
ONGAWA, Ingeniería para el Desarrollo Humano
OPG Observatório do Petróleo e Gás Brasil
Paix dans le monde France France
Park Watershed USA
Pastoral Verde, Arquidiócesis de Monterrey Mexico
Peace Watch Switzerland Switzerland
People’s Coaltion for the Rights to Water (KRuHA) Indonesia
Peru Sin Ecocidio Peru
Plataforma contra la especulación urbanística y ambiental de Candeleda España
Plataforma contra la privatización de Canal de Isabel II (PCPCYII) España
Plataforma de Acuerdos Público Comunitarios de Las AMéricas International
Plataforma de Toledo en Defensa del Tajo España
Plataforma Salvemos el Humedal de los Cárcamos México
Podrinje anto corruption team PAKT Serbia
Polish Agroforestry Association Poland
Population and Development Initiative Tanzania
Por la Tierra AC México
Por Un Mar Vivo / Por Un Mar Menor Vivo España
Practical Action Bangladesh
Pravo na vodu Serbia
Public Services International International
Raíces y Alas Perú y España
Reaccion Climatica Bolivia
Red Agua Pública España
Red Andaluza de la Nueva Cultura del Agua España
Red Ant SMAN 1 Tambun Selatan Indonesia
Red Centroamericana para el Agua y el Ambiente. FANCA Centroamérica
Red de Agua Pública de la Comunidad de Madrid (RAPM) España
Red de alternativas sustentables agropecuarias de Jalisco Mexico
Red de Apoyo al Agua Pública de Aragón España
Red de Información y Acción Ambiental de Veracruz (México) México
Red de Mujeres Ambientalistas del Meta Colombia
Red de Vigilancia Interamericana para la Defensa y Derecho al Agua – Red VIDA Sur, centro y norte américa
Red territorial de acueductos comunitarios RETACO Colombia
Rede Brasileira de Educação Ambiental Brasil
Rede de Educação Ambiental de Sergipe Brasil
Rede de Educação Ambiental do Rio de Janeiro Brasil
Rede de Educação Ambiental e Políticas Públicas Brasil
Rede de Mulheres Ambientalistas da América Latina Brasil
Redes del Agua Latinoamérica
Reformed Church Nydegg, Bern Switzerland
Reformierte Kirchgemeinde Winterthur-Mattenbach Switzerland
Reformierte Kirchgemeinde Winterthur-Wülflingen Switzerland
Rettet den Regenwald Germany
Secours Islamique France France
Semanario Mirada Sur Mexico
Sendas A.C México
Seven Circles Foundation USA
Simavi Bangladesh
Sindae Campinas
Sindiagua Ceará Brasil
Sindica dos Trabalhadores na Indústria da Purificação e Distribuição de Água e em Serviços de Esgoto de Campinas e Região Brasil
Sindicato Dos Bancarios de Santa Cruz do Sul e Região Brasil
Sindicato dos engenheiros no Estado de São Paulo-SEESP Brasil
Sindicato dos Engenheiros no Estado do Rio de Janeiro- SENGE-RJ Brasil
Sindicato dos Trabalhadores em Água, Esgoto e Meio Ambiente no Estado do Espírito Santo – SINDAEMA/ES Brasil
Sindicato dos Trabalhadores na Indústria da Purificação e Distribuição de Água e Serviços de Esgotos do Estado do MS Brasil
Sindicato dos Trabalhadores nas Empresas de Agua, Esgoto e Saneamento Noroeste Paraná Brasil
Sindicato dos Trabalhadores nas Indústrias Urbanas de Santos, Baixada Santista, Litoral Sul e Vale do Ribeira Brasil
Sindicato dos Urbanitário do Estado do Pará- Stiupa Brasil
Sindicato dos Urbanitários da Paraíba Brasil
Sindicato dos Urbanitarios de Alagoas Brasil
Sinpaf Solos Brasil
Sintaema – Sindicato dos trabalhadores em água, esgoto e meio ambiente do estado de São Paulo Brasil
Sisters of Mercy Canada
Sisters of Mercy Justice Team United States
Sisters of Saint Francis Rochester MN USA – Colombia
SLOPB Bangladesh Bangladesh
SOBREVIVENCIA, Amigos de la Tierra Paraguay Paraguay
Sociedad Aragonesa de Protección a los Animales y Plantas España
Solidaridad Internacional Andalucía España
Stop Desahucios Móstoles España
Taula de l’aigua de Terrassa Spain
The ant India
The Council of Canadians Canada
The Demography Project Kenya
The Gaia Foundation UK
The Youngdahl Law Firm United States
TransLAB.URB Brasil
Transnational Institute (TNI) Netherlands
Union of Lawyers of the State of São Paulo – SASP Brasil
UNIPAZ – Universidade Internacional da Paz
United Native Americans United States
USBI – United States Biochar Initiative USA
Uttaran- A social development organization Bangladesh
VIVAT International United States
VPOD – Verband des Personals oeffentlicher Dienste (Public Service Union) Zurich Switzerland
WALHI Sulawesi Selatan Indonesia
Xúquer Viu España
Zimbabwe People’s Land Rights Movement Zimbabwe

BHM 2023: It’s time Canada takes care of Black care workers

Black History Month is an important time to recognize and celebrate the contributions, achievements and struggles of Black communities in this country. In recognition of the vital role Black workers have played in this nation’s care systems, Canada’s unions are calling for fair and decent work for care workers.

From the hidden experiences of Black Nova Scotian domestic workers in the mid-twentieth century, to the young Black women domestic workers who participated in Canada’s West Indian Domestic Scheme, to the Black women who overcame significant racial discrimination to train and work as nurses, Black care workers have been integral to this country’s care history.

“Black care workers helped build this country. They fought and organized for justice, helping to secure the rights that all workers now benefit from. Today—and every day— we honour this hard work by fighting for fairness and justice for Black care workers,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Care workers continue to do the hard work of providing care—paid and unpaid—for our families and communities. This work is often carried out by Black, racialized, immigrant and migrant women.

Wages and working conditions for care jobs do not reflect the true value of the work: jobs are precarious and wages are low. These women often work under poor, unsafe and unfair conditions, with few protections. Care work is traditionally understood to be women’s work, and as such, it is undervalued. This upholds gender stereotypes promoting ideas about women’s place in society and the forms of work assigned to them.

“The racial dimensions and undervaluing of care work also have deep roots, going back to when African and Indigenous peoples were bought, sold, traded and inherited in Canada’s system of chattel slavery, the impacts of which are still felt deeply by Black and Indigenous workers and communitiesBlack workers helped raise this nation, caring for others—first under duress, and today, out of necessity, yet their work and contributions aren’t properly valued,” said Larry Rousseau, CLC Executive Vice-President.

In addition to the hardships of unjust wages and working conditions, Black care workers face anti-Black racism, racial violence and abuse on the job. Without access to equal rights and protections, these inequities persist.

Care work is necessary to the continued well-being of our families and communities, and the functioning of our economy. Despite the indispensable nature of this work, Canada’s care systems are failing its workers and all those who need care. The pandemic has exacerbated the existing cracks in our care systems.

Black care workers helped build Canada and continue to provide the crucial care we all need and depend on. Let’s show up and show we care by fighting together to secure fair and decent work for Black care workers and committing to eradicating gender, racial and other inequities that are bound up with the undervaluing and maldistribution of care work. Send a letter to your MP urging them to invest in repairing our public care systems and join the fight at

COPE Signed Santiago Declaration for Public Services

From 29th November to 2nd December over a thousand representatives from over one hundred countries, from grassroots movements, advocacy, human rights, and development organisations, feminist movements, trade unions, and other civil society organisations, met in Santiago, Chile, and virtually, to discuss the critical role of public services for our future.

The commercialisation and privatisation of public services and the commodification of all aspects of life have driven growing inequalities and entrenched power disparities, giving prominence to profit and corruption over people’s rights and ecological and social well-being. It adversely affects workers, service users, and communities, with the costs and damages falling disproportionately on those who have historically been exploited.

“COPE represents thousands of workers in the public sector, so signing the declaration was self-evident for the good of all those we represent,” explained Annette Toth, President of COPE.

To read the Santiago Declaration clic here.

Canada’s unions are lifting everyone up

The current parliamentary session has drawn to a close, and Canada’s unions are taking the opportunity to celebrate the progress made this year for workers.

In 2022, many workers and their families buckled under sky-high inflation, eye-popping grocery bills and stagnant wages, as well as rapid interest rate hikes, which drove up housing costs. But unions have been a strong voice to correct the Bank of Canada’s single-minded strategy of lowering inflation by raising rates, at the expense of workers.

“Canada’s unions are working hard to fend off a Bank of Canada-manufactured recession. Throwing hundreds of thousands out of work now would be devastating,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Unions urged the federal government to throw a lifeline to struggling families. Cooperation between the New Democrats and the Liberal government resulted in significant gains, including dental care for low-income children and a $500 rent subsidy for low-income renters. The GST rebate was also doubled, providing relief to many Canadians. Unions will continue to call for EI reform, which is more important than ever as Canada teeters on the brink of a recession.

“Parliamentarians working together, across party lines, is key to progress,” said Ms. Bruske. She added that Canada’s unions would push for more cooperation to tackle the pressing challenges ahead of us.

Unions have also led the charge against corporate greed. “When we have grocery CEOs clinking glasses with shareholders to celebrate colossal profits at the same time as one in five families are skipping meals to get by, something is broken,” Bruske added. “We hope to see progress urgently. The federal agriculture committee’s investigation into grocery store profits is a good first step and we welcome it, but there is still much that needs to be done.”

Affordability is not the only issue on Canadians’ minds. This year, in the shadow of a health care crisis, unions helped secure $2 billion in additional funding for health care to help people access the care they need. But those funds just scratched the surface of the needs of our care systems.

“Emergency rooms are overflowing with sick kids. People are waiting up to a decade to find a family doctor. Health care workers are overworked, underpaid and exhausted. We need urgent action from our provincial and federal governments to ensure staff are supported, and everyone in Canada has access to quality, public health care when they need it,” said Bruske.

Child care workers, their unions and advocates across the country scored a major victory when the federal government penned agreements for $10/day child care programs in all provinces. Bruske commented, “Affordable child care makes it easier for parents to work and provide for their families, and it will give children the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe and nurturing environment.” Next, we must ensure child care is accessible and workers have good working conditions.

“We’ve made progress but we can’t lose sight of the next big challenge ahead, the climate crisis, which continues to threaten people in Canada and around the world,” said Bruske, who applauded the federal government’s $250 million investment in the Sustainable Jobs Training Centre and the Union Training and Innovation Program. “Now we expect workers to be given a seat at the table, and we’re looking for meaningful investments in sustainable jobs that will help Canada meet its climate targets,” she added.

2022 also produced some significant wins for workers’ rights. Ontario Premier Doug Ford attempted to block workers’ charter right to strike and impose a collective agreement on low-paid education workers. He was forced to back down and sent back to the bargaining table because of the strength and unity of the labour movement across Canada.

Unions made strides on worker-centered legislation. Bill C-228, which will protect workers’ hard-earned pensions in the event of employer bankruptcy, passed the House of Commons. Now, we urge Senators to waste no time and make sure this bill is passed swiftly. The federal government also announced anti-scab legislation, which will go a long way towards restoring fairness at the bargaining table. A major focus of next year will be ensuring both pieces of legislation pass into law quickly.

“Canadian unions are a powerful force for good, standing up for workers and advocating for strong public services, education and health care that benefit everyone,” said Ms. Bruske. “We’re just getting started. This year, we have proven that our labour movement is stronger than ever. We are ready to do what it takes to put workers first and fight against corporate greed and injustice in 2023 and beyond.”

Canada’s unions express solidarity and demand action on reproductive rights

Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, released the following statement:

“Today, the Supreme Court of the United States delivered a devastating decision to overturn the landmark precedent set 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade. The decision to rule against the constitutional right to access safe and legal abortion care jeopardizes the reproductive rights of millions of Americans.

“Canada’s unions are reacting to this decision with deep concern and a renewed commitment to redouble our efforts for equitable access to abortion care and reproductive health services across our country.

“Access to safe, legal abortion is a fundamental human right that must be guaranteed to everyone and should not be a privilege related to the colour of your skin, where you live or how much money you have. Taking away peoples’ reproductive health and rights is wrong and will inevitably impact poor and racialized communities the most.

“Abortion bans do not stop abortion. They only make abortions harder to access and more dangerous, particularly for communities who are already marginalized. The World Health Organization estimates that 25 million unsafe abortions take place each year, and identifies that the lack of safe, respectful, timely abortion care services is a critical public health issue and leading cause for maternal deaths and morbidities world-wide.

“While abortion is decriminalized in Canada, barriers to accessing this essential health service persist. These barriers include a lack of accurate information, travel and other costs associated with accessing care, wait times, and gestational limits. These barriers disproportionately impact low-income, young, newcomer and racialized populations, as well as people with disabilities, and those living in rural and remote communities.

“Anti-abortion movements, attacks on 2SLGBTQI communities, and the growing tide of right-wing extremism, are well funded movements that have no borders. We must remain vigilant in standing up for the rights of all people.

“While there is still much work to do here in Canada, we remain committed in our solidarity to all advocates and activists continuing the fight for bodily autonomy and gender justice, in the United States and around the world.”

For more information about sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada:
Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada:
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights:

Looking ahead to Labour Day 2022: A pivotal moment to move Forward Together

To:  Members of the CLC Canadian Council, Federations of Labour, Labour Councils and CLC Staff


Labour Day plays a critical moment in our movement’s calendar. It represents the coming together of workers to celebrate our collective victories and advance our efforts to improve the lives of all workers.

The global pandemic has shone a harsh light on society’s inequalities; inequalities the labour movement has long fought to address.

Following the last global pandemic, through the Great Depression and World War II, workers organized in unions to build a better future. In the resulting decades, Canada’s middle class was created. Through collective organizing, workers rebuilt a fairer economy and paved a pathway to prosperity for millions of families.

With the challenges facing workers from the current pandemic, the solution to a better future remains the same as it was a hundred years ago; workers must organize.

Through collective organizing into unions, we can build a better future. A future without precarity in the workplace, a future with paid sick leave, higher wages and fairer benefits.

When we organize collectively we can ensure life is fairer for everyone. We can bring down the costs families face with pharmacare, affordable housing and dental coverage. We can ensure care is there and accessible for our loved ones when they need it. We can tackle the climate crisis head-on, while creating good, sustainable jobs in communities across Canada.

Labour Day 2022 is an opportunity to call for societal transformation to address the social and economic gaps in our communities. It is a pivotal moment to send a clear message that this is our moment as a movement, that we will move Forward Together.

Our Labour Day 2022 theme will be Forward Together: This is our moment. We believe it is forward-looking, inclusive and sends a message to all workers that there is a brighter path forward with Canada’s unions.

This theme will allow us to highlight policies we know will make life better for all Canadians – including calling for better jobs and better workplace health and safety measures, and a better social safety net.

Canada’s labour movement has a bold, progressive plan that aims to narrow the gap between the have and have-nots and place workers directly at the centre of a COVID-19 recovery.

This Labour Day, we will champion the policies we know Canadians deserve and we will demonstrate how unions benefit communities and workers.

Canadians came together to fight COVID-19 with focus and determination. We must come together in the same way to build a future that ensures no one is left behind. Canada’s unions are integral in shaping this bold future and helping to lead a clear path to recovery.

In order to help labour bodies promote Labour Day events, editable promotional posters and social media share graphics can be downloaded. You’ll also find our messaging guide for all of your Labour Day content needs.

In the coming weeks, you will be receiving more information on digital productstools and templates for use in the lead up to and on Labour Day.

Together, we will demonstrate our commitment to improving the lives of all Canadians.

Please contact our political action and communications team with any questions at

In solidarity,

Bea Bruske

Link to official letter here.