Federal government must do more to fulfill its promises on reconciliation

Canada’s unions are marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day on September 30, by calling for greater accountability and action from the government to fulfill its promises on reconciliation.

“Today we must all take time to remember and honour all the Indigenous children taken from their homes, families, and communities to be sent to residential schools, where they faced mistreatment, violence and abuse. No child should have to endure these atrocities, nor should any community have to experience the fallout of these racist policies,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

Approximately 80,000 residential school survivors are still alive today. The trauma inflicted by the residential school system has had far-reaching and devastating impacts on survivors, their families, and Indigenous communities more broadly.

“While residential schools closed, the impacts of the system remain, and the horrors of the residential school system are echoed in current government policies. This includes the use of birth alerts, the underfunding of child and family services on reserves, and the over-representation of Indigenous children in the child welfare system. Indigenous children, workers, and communities deserve better, and it’s long past time for these injustices to be righted,” said Lily Chang, CLC Secretary-Treasurer.

For survivors, their families, and the families of the children who never made it home, the traumatic impacts of the residential school system continue to be felt today. The ongoing discovery of the graves of thousands of Indigenous children at former residential schools, and the slow degree to which action has been taken to release records on residential schools to survivors and their families, creates
additional trauma for community members.

In order to redress the legacy of colonization and advance the process of reconciliation in a meaningful way, it is imperative that the federal government address the harms caused by the residential school system, as well as the colonial policies and practices that have and continue to have devastating consequences for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.

This is why on October 3, 2023, workers from across Canada will be heading to Parliament to meet with Members of Parliament and Senators as part of CLC’s second National Indigenous Lobby Day. There they will urge lawmakers to take action on Indigenous justice, including:

– Addressing the harms caused by the residential school system by implementing, without delay, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 71 through 76: Missing Children and Burial Information;
– Providing appropriate funds and resources to support the development of essential publicly delivered water infrastructure and ensuring the elimination of all long-term boil water advisories in First Nations communities;
– Immediately creating a national Red Dress Alert system to notify the public when an Indigenous woman, girl, or Two-Spirit person goes missing;
– Releasing an implementation plan for the government’s National Action Plan, and accelerating fulfilment of all the Calls for Justice from the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and TwoSpirit people; and
– Along with the government of Manitoba, prioritizing and adequately funding a search of the landfills to return Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris of Long Plain First Nation, and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe to their loved ones without further delay.

Show your solidarity and join the calls by signing our action letter and letting your MP know that you want to see concrete action for justice for Indigenous communities!

Other ways to take action on this day and beyond:
– Visit CLC’s Indigenous Rights and Justice Resource Centre, for information and resources on tangible actions you can take to support Indigenous workers in your workplace, union, and community.
– Find and join an event or action in your area to commemorate Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (example in Ottawa).
Wear orange to show your support for Indigenous communities impacted by residential schools.
– Donate to and support Indigenous organizations and Indigenous community supports such as the Indian Residential Schools Survivor Society, and First Nations Child & Family Caring Society.

ReconciliACTION Plans

In 2015, the NCTR released the 6 Actions of ReconciliACTION that were developed to assist the public in supporting their work towards Reconciliation.

These actions are:

Learn the history between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples;
Understand the history and legacy of residential schools;
Explore the unique intersections we have between treaty, constitutional, Indigenous, and human rights we have in Canada;
Recognize the rich contributions that Indigenous peoples have made to Canada;
Take action to address historical injustices and present-day wrongs; and
Teach others.

more information on the ReconciliACTION Plans can be found here

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

No Space for Hate Counter Protest!

As some of you may know, we have unfortunately see the far-right push to not have 2SLGBTQIA+ material included in schools as well as unsafely out children who disclose at school. This causes immense harm to children in so many ways. This hateful group has organized protests across Ontario and we want to show them that is unacceptable and we want to protect these children from further harm.

Join us for a counter protest across Ontario to show that COPE-SEPB Ontario does not condone this innate harm.

Counter protests are being organized in Toronto, Hamilton, Burlington, Kitchener, Niagara Falls, London, Windsor, Orangeville, Barrie, Sudbury, Whitby, Ottawa and more to come. (Full list will be sent to those who RSVP using the link below)

No Space for Hate counter protests – RSVP here

If you are unable to make it to a physical event, please share the event widely within your networks and share the social media images created by the OFL (accessed via link above).

Healthcare Campaign launch!

Good Afternoon everyone,

I am please to reach out and inform you that our healthcare campaign has begun; We are working hard to fight the attack on our public healthcare!

The first phase of this campaign is our landing page with an email campaign for folks to share their concerns with local politicians and leaders. We would really love to see as much support for all of our locals on this as this is an issue that will affect all of our members in the long run.

We are kindly asking folks to circulate and spread this campaign to their members, on your locals’ socials and within your networks.

To find more info, visit our landing page with info visit: www.copeontario.ca/health

Check out the landing page to find the link to our email campaign and additional information!

Please also find social share images (in both English and French) for folks to share on their own social medias.

Keep an eye out for more details and next steps coming to this campaign.

Labour Day Picnic

its that time of year again when the unions of Thunder Bay get together and have a picnic

again this year, COPE local 96 will have a tent set up with swag to be given out

please come and enjoy the activities and meet your fellow union brothers and sisters from all unions of Thunder Bay

Unifor Metro Boycott Calls

To: Members of the CLC Canadian Council
Ontario Labour Councils


As you are all likely aware, the membership of Unifor working at 27 Metro stores in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario began strike action this week.

In an effort to support those workers on strike, we have seen a few calls for people to either boycott Metro stores in those geographic locations or across the entire chain, including other banner stores such as Food Basics.

While those calls for a boycott are well intentioned, they ignore the fact that there are multiple unions who represent workers at Metro stores that remain at work, covered by active collective agreements. Instead, calls to respect picket lines at the specific struck workplaces is the more appropriate message.

As a reminder, the CLC has a boycott policy which is designed to avoid any potential conflicts between affiliates.

Workers across Canada (and the world) have been feeling the downward pressures against them and are exercising their power – the right to withdraw their labour. We in the labour movement will continue to support workers in their rights, in solidarity with each other.

Workers, united, will never be defeated!

In solidarity,

Bea Bruske

Meet the new COPE Ontario Political Action Campaign Organizers

We are pleased to introduce ourselves to you as the new Political Action Campaign Organizers for COPE Ontario. We’re here to work with local leaders, stewards, committees, and members (of course!) on the pressing issues in our union.

We’re currently focused on (but not limited to) four main areas :

– Violence in Education
– Privatization of Healthcare
– Pay Equity
– Bill 124

We’ve already started working on these campaigns and, over the coming months, you’ll be hearing from us (and seeing us) more often as we roll them out across the province. We’re also restarting the COPE Ontario Political Action Committee, which you can sign up for below.

Indigenous History Month 2023

June marks Indigenous History Month in Canada. It is an opportunity for Canadians to recognize and honour the rich history, heritage and diversity of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) peoples in Canada who continue to flourish despite past and ongoing oppression.

During Indigenous History Month, we celebrate the incredible contributions of FNMI peoples to society such as the artwork of Norval Morrisseau and Annie Pootoogook, the music of Jeremy Dutcher and Aysanabee, the filmmaking of Alanis Obomsawin, the writings of Lee Maracle, and so many others.

In addition to celebrating these trailblazers, National Indigenous History Month also presents an occasion for us to reflect upon the ongoing work that must be done toward Truth and Reconciliation.

In its 2022 Truth and Reconciliation accountability report, the Yellowhead Institute noted that two Calls to Action were completed in 2022, bringing the total completed calls to 13 out of 94. “At this rate,” they observe, “it will take 42 years, or until 2065, to complete all the Calls to Action.

As Indigenous History month begins, we encourage you to celebrate, learn more, reflect, and take action.

Demand Equity for All

During the month of June, we celebrate Pride Month by honouring, uplifting and recognizing the vibrant and diverse 2SLGBTQIA+ community. The 2SLGBTQIA+ community has fought for acceptance, inclusion, and civil rights for decades. Pride began in the 1970s as a protest and will continue to be a protest until equal rights and justice are received for all. In solidarity with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, COPE Ontario will continue to support future protests, movements and fights for justice and equity.

In 2023, we saw a resurgence of unacceptable actions, hate speech and violence against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, specifically trans people, drag queens and Black, Indigenous, and racialized members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. According to Statistics Canada there has been a 64% rise in hate crimes targeting sexual orientation across Canada since 2020. This increase reflects a fight from prejudiced and discriminatory people trying to strip the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities of their rights. These groups under attack are at the forefront of the fight for justice, equality and acceptance and we will continue to support and uplift the voices of those that are under attack.

COPE Ontario condemns these injustices and will continue to support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to create inclusive and safe workplaces and environments. COPE Ontario supports the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to continue to push forward in the fight for equity for all, and we will not stop until justice, civil rights and equality are upheld.

As members of a union spanning across a wide variety of public and private sectors, we must continue the fight to eliminate hate and inequalities from our workplaces, our communities and in all areas of society.

Jack Elwert Bursary application

Dear Brothers & Sisters:

Enclosed you will find application forms for the “Jack Elwert” Bursary Award which is sponsored by COPE Local 96.

There will be three (3) Bursaries of $350.00 each given out.

To be eligible for this Bursary the student needs to meet the following criteria.

1. Applicant must be a child of COPE Local 96 member.

2. Applicant must be currently registered in Grade 12.

3. Applicant must:

• Provide a copy of current transcript
• Attach completed application form
• Write a 500-word essay in your own words on who Tommy Douglas was and what he did to improve the lives of Canadian workers
• Provide proof of acceptance into post-secondary institution

Jack Elwert Bursary Letter and Application to Members2023