Report from the UFCW Canada National Council Convention
September 12, 2017
More than 280 Members and staff from UFCW Locals across Canada attended the 12th UFCW Canada National Council Convention in Montreal from August 29 – 31, 2017.
Locals 175 & 633 sent a total of 65 delegates to the event, which made our Local the largest group at the convention. [for photos, see below]
Daniel Boyer, President of the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) welcomed the delegates to Quebec and spoke of the realities facing workers in that province.
The convention included passionate addresses from UFCW International President Marc Perrone and UFCW International Secretary-Treasurer Esther López. They both spoke of the current climate around workers’ rights and that we must press on in our work.
A great panel discussion took place among National Partners of UFCW Canada as well. On stage were:
- Amira Elghawaby from the National Council of Canadian Muslims,
- Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society,
- Hailee Morrison from the Womens’ Legal Education & Action Fund,
- Helen Kennedy of Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, and
- Josée Lusignan of I Love First Peoples.
This important discussion focused on the ongoing and systemic issues we face in Canada. In particular, this includes the inequity of care provided to First Nations children, rampant islamophobia across the country, the gender pay gap and gender inequality, LGBTQ rights and activism, motivating indigenous youth to stay in school, and promoting reconciliation with the First Nations people of Canada.
On day two, Executive Assistant Sylvia Groom nominated President Haggerty for another term as International Vice-President. She stated: “Shawn has always worked hard to advance the dignity, respect and safety for all workers. He believes that every worker has the right to be heard. And every worker deserves a voice in the workplace and in their Union. He knows that our Union’s solidarity can only be strengthened through the empowerment of UFCW members.”
Nominations for International Vice-Presidents were:
- UFCW Local 175 President Shawn Haggerty;
- Paul Meinema, President of UFCW Canada;
- Wayne Hanley, President of Local 1006A;
- Doug O’Halloran, President of Local 401;
- Suzanne Hodge, President of Local 247; and
- Tony Filato, President of Local 500R.
Also that morning, delegates re-elected Paul Meinema as National President. Tony Filato and Ivan Limpright (Local 1518) were elected as Secretary-Treasurer and Recorder, respectively.
In addition, Jennifer Hollett, Head of News & Government at Twitter Canada, and Jason Dorsey, Chief Strategy Officer at the Center for Generational Kinetics, gave informative talks on how to better connect with our Members. This included techniques especially for reaching out to different generations. Rick Hillier, former Chief of Defence Staff for Canada, gave an inspirational discussion on how to cultivate leadership within our organization. Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada, spoke of ensuring accessible, affordable safe food and procurement.
A number of guests from the political world addressed the convention as well. This included Tom Mulcair, Leader of the federal NDP; Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier of Alberta, and; Patty Hadju, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour. On the last day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to the crowd too. It was the first time that a prime minister has ever spoken at a UFCW Canada national convention. Trudeau promised a fair NAFTA deal for Canada’s workforce. Also, he spoke of being a partner with the labour movement rather than an adversary.
The 16 resolutions passed at the convention aim to continue improving the lives of UFCW members in many ways.
UFCW Canada will continue to lead through advocacy for diversity, inclusion, accessibility, equity, and more. So, this includes campaigning for:
- indigenous rights,
- pay equity,
- gender equality,
- affordable child care,
- including domestic violence language in our collective agreements,
- and more.
Lastly, UFCW Canada introduced a brand new video entitled “We Are the Union.” It features many members from across the country. This includes some Members from Locals 175 & 633 as well.