2017 OFL Convention
More than 1,200 delegates gathered in Toronto from November 20 – 24 to take part in the 2017 Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) Convention.
Visit our YouTube page to see short wrap-up videos from each day of the convention.
Aaron Bell, Anishinabae, Ojibway Nation, and the White Pine Dancers welcomed the audience to open the convention. To close, Aaron returned to say See You Soon and ended with a moving story.
UFCW Canada endorsed the Moving Forward team of Chris Buckley, Patty Coates, and UFCW 1006A Member Ahmad Gaeid for re-election. President Chris Buckley won his re-election and both Patty and Ahmad were acclaimed.
Throughout the convention, delegates heard from a number of inspiring speakers and panelists. They participated in lively debates over resolutions on the floor as well.
Local 175 Member and young worker Eduardo Ramon went to the mic several times during the week to speak in support of some progressive resolutions. He also energized the crowd on Wednesday morning with motivational songs as part of the Solidarity Squad.
The OFL honoured UFCW Canada activist Stan Raper, who passed away in the last year, with the Bob Burch Human Rights Award. UFCW Rep Pablo Godoy gave a moving tribute to Stan’s important work in advancing the rights of migrant farm workers. Stan’s wife, Terry, accepted the award.
On Wednesday, the entire group rallied through the streets of Toronto to Queen’s Park. The rally marked the passing of Bill 148 and served as a reminder to our MPPs that working people will continue to fight for better rights and protections.
The week’s speakers included:
- Farrah Khan, Co-Chair, Ontario’s Roundtable on Violence Against Women
- Stephen Lewis, The Stephen Lewis Foundation
- Jagmeet Singh, Federal NDP Leader
- Andrea Horwath, Ontario NDP Leader
- Desmond Cole, Journalist & Activist
- Hassan Yussuff, President, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
- Yolanda McClean, President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU)
- Daniele Zanotti, CEO United Way Toronto York
Inspiring panel discussions took place during the week, covering a number of important and timely topics.
Decent Work Now and in the Future
This panel featured Kara Manso from the Caregivers Action Centre and Mina Rajabi Paak, the President of YUGSA. Joining them, was Toronto Star journalist Sara Mojtehedzadeh. Sarah’s recent undercover work in a Toronto industrial bakery exposed systemic issues with temp agency use in the province. In addition, Suleman Basharat from UNITE HERE Local 75 spoke about how to mobilize workers, especially young workers, to take action.
Hit the Ground Running
Panelists discussed how to activate the Decent Work agenda and spur action within and outside of our Unions. Members on the panel included Brad James from USW and Len Elliott from OPSEU. Moderating the panel was Roxanne Dubois. Pam Frache, a Coordinator for the Fight for $15 & Fairness campaign, spoke about how that campaigned achieved its incredible success. Zenee May Maceda, from UFCW Canada, highlighted one of the organizing drives at Local 175 that she worked on. In summary, Zenee reinforced that achievements made for temporary agency workers are vital to achieving better legislation and protection for all workers.
Other panels included:
- A focus on the role of Labour Councils and rising up against hate;
- Discussions on Mental Health, and the role of Health & Safety and Workers’ Compensation;
- Engaging Members and mobilizing them to vote in the 2018 Provincial Election; and
- A forum on Green Jobs and Climate and how we can move forward in a way that protects the earth, our jobs, and our economy.
Delegates passed a number of important progressive resolutions as well as an Action Plan for the coming two years. These included initiatives to:
- Intensify our advocacy of marginalized peoples;
- End Discrimination Against First Nations Children;
- Improve workers’ rights across the board;
- Engage young members in their Union and the labour movement;
- Empower workers of colour and fight racism;
- Close the gender wage gap;
- Advocate for LGBTQ+ workers, workers requiring accommodation, and injured workers;
- Strengthen retirement security; and
- Much more!