Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

November 20, 2009 14:56 ET

From Crisis to Justice Labour and Community Working Together

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2009) - A special Forum bringing together community and labour activists will examine the impacts of the economic crisis on Ontarians, with a particular focus on the disproportionate impact experienced by Ontarians of colour.

The Forum, co-sponsored by the Colour of Poverty Campaign (COPC) and the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) will be held in conjunction with the OFL's Biennial Convention. The goal of the Forum is to build stronger connections between unions and communities of colour so as to broaden our shared understanding of, and to promote shared vision for, racial equity, economic fairness, good jobs and justice for all.

"What the employment statistics from the past year tell us is that while all Ontarians are struggling, racialized workers and their families have been hit especially hard," says Terry Downey executive vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Labour and one of the Forum's co-chairs. "Racialized workers have seen disproportionately larger increases in unemployment rates and disproportionately larger decreases in employment income. This is in line with what we know about the labour market disadvantages that racialized workers experience, even in the best of times."

Avvy Go, Clinic Director of the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and the Forum's other co-chair, notes that while racialized workers could achieve greater job security and better pay from unionization they are less likely to be union members.

"We need to examine why that is so, and together, develop solutions to build communication and co-operation between communities," says Go. "The Forum will allow activists from unions and racialized communities to develop a common action plan that will bring about positive solutions that will benefit all workers. It will promote a "green collar", substainable economy that includes good jobs for all."

The Forum will:

- Link activists from unions and community organizations to advance a shared vision for social, economic and environmental justice in our workplaces and in our communities.

- Develop best practices and policies that can be implemented locally, provincially and nationally through collective bargaining and form the framework to lobby for effective provincial and national employment equity and for organizing legislation.

- Increase public awareness of the potential for "green collar" jobs to provide equitable pathways out of poverty, curb global warming, and transform the economy.

The Forum takes place in Toronto, on November 21, 2009 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto, Ontario and will run between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Guest speakers will include: Uzma Shakir, Atkinson Social Justice Fellow and outgoing Executive Director of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALC); Fred Redmond, International Vice-President (Human Affairs) of the United Steelworkers, and Hamid Osman, Ontario Representative on the National Executive of the Canadian Federation of Students.

Contact Information

  • Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
    Avvy Go
    Clinic Director
    647.271.9357 (cellular)
    Ontario Federation of Labour
    Terry Downey
    OFL Executive Vice-President
    416.578.3230 (cellular)