December 6, 2018
Workers' Comp Is a Right! Ontario
Week of Action
Injured Workers Reject
Neo-Liberal Mantra that Ontario Is
"Open for Business" at Their Expense
• Injured Workers Reject Neo-Liberal Mantra
that Ontario Is "Open for Business"
at Their Expense
• Just Stand to Hold Quebec Government and
Hydro-Québec to Account Wins Broad Support - Chantier politique
Criminalization of Workers' Struggles at the Post Office
• National Day of Action in Support of Postal
Workers and Their Opposition to Back to Work Legislation -- Photo Review
Defend the Rights of
Migrant Workers and the Rights of All
• Landed Status Now! Care Workers Organize
- Peggy Morton
• Caring for the Caregivers -- Interim Reforms
Workers' Fight for
Safe Working Conditions
• Important Health and Safety Resolution from
the Mining Sector - André Racicot, President, USW Local
• Resolution on the Inspection Service of the
Labour Standards, Pay Equity, and Workplace Health and Safety Board
- Quebec United Steelworkers
Deprivation Among Transportation Workers
• Transportation Workers Need a Guarantee of
Health Care for Work-Related
Illness - Normand Chouinard
Workers' Comp Is a Right! Ontario Week of
Injured Workers Reject Neo-Liberal Mantra that
Ontario Is "Open for Business" at Their Expense
The Ontario Network of
Injured Workers' Groups (ONIWG) is holding a
province-wide week of action from December 10 to 14.
and workers' right to compensation are issues that affect everyone and
ONIWG is calling on everyone to "take a stand for fairness for injured
ONIWG points out that the new Conservative Ford
government and the
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board are trying to abscond with
compensation that belongs to injured workers by right: "They've teamed
up to give employers a $1.5 billion gift, in the form of a massive
reduction to their premium rates -- that's the money that's
needed to provide compensation for people who need it. Meanwhile,
injured workers are struggling with poverty and homelessness.
"Doug Ford's promise of being 'for the little guy'
rings hollow in
the face of this reality. And as we've seen from the government attacks
on workers across the board, the 'Ontario open for business' slogan
really means they want to open workers to exploitation.
"Well, we won't stand for that. We've got a
province-wide week of
action to say 'Workers' Comp Is A Right,' and 'Injured Workers Need
Real Health Care!'"
calls on everyone to join in the actions
area, to oppose the anti-social attacks of the Ford government on the
most vulnerable, and to affirm that workers' compensation is a right.
Locked-Out ABI Workers Show What Needs
to Be Done
Just Stand to Hold Quebec Government and
Hydro-Québec to Account Wins Broad Support
Workers protested outside Hydro-Québec's offices
in Montreal on November 28, in support of ABI workers who have been
locked out by the Alcoa/Rio Tinto cartel for close to 11 months.
Estimates place the attendance at about 500 workers, including a
300-strong continent from ABI. Also present were some 50 workers from
various Rio Tinto facilities in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, who traveled
by bus for five hours to express their support for their ABI
colleagues, remembering only too well Rio Tinto's lockout declared by
Rio Tinto against the Alma workers in 2012.
Workers already outside
Hydro-Québec cheered the contingent of ABI workers as they
approached with flags waving and placards in hand. ABI workers
expressed their opposition to the cartel and the Quebec government's
betrayal of their social responsibility, and the total refusal of the
company's owners to negotiate with them. Placards read: "Betrayal: Zero
Negotiation!"; "Meaningless Signature!";
"Sacrificed for Hydroelectricity!"; "Seniority Sabotaged!"; "1,300
Families: We Want Respect!" Rio Tinto/Alcan has added new demands for
concessions, while it pays nothing for the block of hydroelectricity
reserved for it through its contract with the Quebec government and
Hydro-Québec, nor is it paying the fines resulting from
non-utilization of that electricity.
In addition to the ABI workers from
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (which included a contingent of Rio Tinto/Alcan
unionized retirees) the demonstration included members of the United
Steelworkers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers, Unifor, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Congress
Trade Unions and Repentigny white collar workers.
On behalf of United Steelworkers' Local 9700, which
represents the ABI workers, President Clément Masse greeted the
workers and said:
"Thank you to all the unions represented here, which
not only morally, but also financially support us. This helps us in
carrying on the struggle. We are here today outside of
Hydro-Québec because the government and Hydro-Québec
signed contracts with our employer that provide [the company] with a
huge advantage and creates a huge
imbalance in our relations, regarding the force majeure clause.
Up till now, through its lockout, the employer has saved $200
million in electricity costs. Besides this, everyone in Quebec is going
to end up paying for this because Hydro-Québec will be going
before the Energy Board to request an increase in its rates on account
its $200 million shortfall. It's Quebeckers who will be funding
the employer for having locked us out. We demand that the government
and Hydro-Québec renegotiate such contracts, so that this type
of clause is eliminated in the contracts it signs with businesses.
United Steelworkers' Quebec Director Alain Croteau then
took the mike and announced, to loud applause, that there are now
over 300 union locals around the world that are financially
supporting the locked-out ABI workers.
With this support from workers in Quebec, Canada and
worldwide, including financial support, the ABI workers reiterated
their determination to obtain a negotiated collective agreement
acceptable to them and the renegotiation of the hydroelectricity
contract, to force the cartel to pay for its electricity during a
Participants ended the demonstration determined to
intensify support for the ABI workers.
What Workers Had to Say
Workers at the rally commented on why they were there.
A locked-out ABI worker said, "We are demonstrating
today outside of Hydro-Québec's main office because
Hydro-Québec and the government say that a lockout is an 'Act of
God,' that it's like a hurricane or something similar to that. As far
as our situation goes, it's a conflict between workers and a private
company, which is not the same at all. At this point, Alcoa and Rio
Tinto have not paid $200 million in electricity. Quebeckers are the
ones who are going to be paying for that. That's why we came to
demonstrate outside of Hydro-Québec today."
A Rio Tinto/Alcan retiree explained, "We are here today
because we are opposed to the energy contract between the government
and Alcoa and Rio Tinto. That money is in the pockets of companies and
it has to be recuperated. Alcoa and Rio must pay for their
hydroelectricity. Otherwise, Quebeckers will be paying for it. Alma
workers experienced the same thing in 2012 during the lockout. We also
waged battles like this one before we retired. I'm 80 years old and we
retirees are carrying on fighting."
One of the aluminum workers from Alma pointed out, "We
came a long way to get here. The dice are loaded, the government is
creating a huge disequilibrium in power struggle between the workers
and the company. This must be denounced, it's as much of a scandal as
what happened with us in 2012. There are people here from most of Rio
Tinto's installations in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Énergie
électrique Nord, Port de Mer, the Alma plant, we have colleagues
here from the FTQ Regional Council. We're a good gang and everyone
supports the ABI workers."
A contingent of sealth care workers were also at the
rally. One of them explained, "We are a FTQ union affiliate and are
here today to support the locked out ABI workers. They have been locked
out for 11 months and their employer refuses to negotiate. It's
important that we be here for them. The more mobilized we are, the more
helpful it is."
Workers from the retail auto sector also took part. One
of them said, "We are here to express our support for the ABI workers,
because a lockout is everyone's fight. We also experienced lockouts
recently, one of which lasted at our local for six months, at Longueuil
Kia, a car dealer. We know what a lockout is. Some of our workers found
themselves in huge financial difficulty for months, so it's important
to come out and support the ABI workers. The ABI conflict concerns
everyone. It's not an issue of which union we're affiliated with, it's
an issue that concerns all workers."
A machinist expressed the support of workers at
Bombardier, saying, "What are Quebec workers experiencing at the
present time? What we are seeing is that with the multinationals [in
control], any worker can find him or herself locked out. It's not us
who decided, it's not the ABI workers who decided, it's the employer
who decided to lock them out. That employer is taking advantage of the
option in its hydroelectricity contract to save money on the backs of
the Quebec people, of workers. That should never be forgotten. That's
why we're fighting these arbitrary actions. The ABI workers are our
colleagues. We're part of the same family. Bombardier is another
multinational that acts in a similar fashion. We'll find ways to get
out of this."
An FTQ Union representive from Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean,
explained the need to take part in the rally by saying, "It's important
to be here, because what the ABI workers are living through at this
time shows the way in which working relations are being developed. We
experienced the same thing in Alma in 2012. It's the refusal to
negotiate with workers through actions such as lockouts and we are now
seeing it with the back-to-work legislation against postal workers. We
must prepare by mobilizing and by supporting all those who face such
Opposition to Criminalization of Workers'
Struggles at the Post Office
National Day of Action in Support of Postal Workers and
Their Opposition to Back-to-Work
Legislation -- Photo Review
On December 1 loud and spirited pickets and rallies
took place in
many cities and towns to support postal workers and denounce the
Trudeau Liberal government for imposing
strike-breaking legislation on the workers. Slogans such as Negotiate,
An Injury to One Is An Injury to All!; No Justice, No
Peace!; Stand Up, Fight Back!; and On Strike, Shut It Down!
filled the air.
Speakers stated that the legislation is an attack on
people and militantly declared that the postal workers are not alone
and workers will respond to this state attack on their
rights to negotiate wages and working conditions acceptable to
themselves as well as their right to strike to back up their demands.
The stubborn refusal of Canada Post and the Trudeau
meet workers' just demands but instead step up the violation of rights
was underscored on December 2 in Halifax
when Canada Post security called police to take action against the
picket line blocking mail trucks from entering the Almon St. facility.
Six people were arrested.
Workers report that Canada Post sought and received a
injunction on November 30 against "John Doe, Jane Doe, and Other
Persons, Names Unknown" at all of its facilities in
Ontario. A similar injunction was said to be in place in New Brunswick
Nonetheless, actions continue at sorting stations and
MPs offices in support of the just fight of postal workers
for a negotiated contract with proper wages and working conditions, and
against the back-to-work legislation. In
Ottawa in the early hours of December 5, a picket line was set up at
the Canada Post sorting centre in Ottawa that blocked out-going trucks.
Police arrested three people, who were taken to
the police station and released after being fined. A similar action is
planned for Fredericton on December 6.
Workers' Forum calls on everyone to continue to
their support for postal workers and oppose the Trudeau government's
attacks on workers' right to negotiate their
wages and working conditions, including their right to strike.
Halifax, December 2, 2018.
Ottawa, December 5, 2018
Fredericton, December 6, 2018
December 1 Photo Review
Fredericton, New Brunswick
The Pas, Manitoba
Grand Prairie, Alberta
Prince George, BC
Rally at BC Federation of Labour Convention
Vancouver, November 29, 2018.
Defend the Rights of Migrant Workers and
the Rights of All
Landed Status Now! Care Workers Organize
Edmonton, November 18, 2018
The Coalition of Migrant Worker Rights Canada launched a
campaign across Canada on November 18 calling for Landed Status
Now, with permanent resident status upon arrival for all care workers.
Events took place in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal
to launch the campaign.
The live-in caregiver program has existed for many
years in place of publicly funded and delivered day care and modern and
humane seniors' care as a right. Live-in caregivers fought for years
for permanent residency status upon arrival. The current Caregiver
Pilot program was created in 2014 by the Harper government, which
responded to the demand to right wrongs by launching further attacks on
the workers coming to Canada to care for children, frail seniors and
people with disabilities.
Under the old program, live-in caregivers could apply
for permanent residency after 24 months of work. The Pilot Project
capped the number of workers who could apply at 2,760 per year in
each caregiving stream, while more than 5,500 workers come in the
childcare stream each year alone. The Pilot Project also ended
the requirement that care workers live in their employers' homes,
although for most workers the high cost of housing and low pay leaves
them no choice.
Vancouver, November 18, 2018.
The Trudeau government has announced that the Pilot
Project is now closed and will end in November 2019. It has
provided no answers to caregivers and their organizations about what
will happen to workers who are now working in Canada under the pilot
project and the thousands of workers who came to Canada under the old
program are still waiting for their applications for permanent
residency to be processed, and the commitment made to them honoured.
The existing program permits employers to violate
Standards with impunity, and the workers report rampant abuse. Many
care workers work long hours with little time off, working unpaid hours
with no pay for overtime and holidays, sometimes not even one day off a
week. Because they do not have open worker permits and are tied
to one employer, care workers are also vulnerable to sexual abuse and
violations of their human person. Caregivers who live-in are especially
vulnerable, and for this reason their organizations have long called
for open work permits to allow a worker to leave an abusive employer.
One of the most abhorrent aspects of the program is
that it enforces family separation of women from their spouses and
their children. Under the current program, meeting the two years of
employment can be very difficult. For example families often hire a
caregiver when their elderly family member's health deteriorates. But
takes months or
longer to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and caregivers
work without a work permit, so those hours don't count towards
the 2-year requirement. Families are often reluctant to hire
someone who is nearing completion of the two years.
Toronto, November 18, 2018
The government's failure to process applications has
left thousands of care workers waiting for up to 10 years to
reunite with their families because even when applications are
accepted, they are not processed. At the end of 2017,
over 30,000 Caregiver primary applicants were backlogged in the
immigration system waiting
for a decision. In mid-2017, the average processing time for Caregiver
applications was 53 months, nearly four and a half years, the
Report states. The "pathway to permanent residency" is really a pathway
to despair, caregivers say.
Care workers add immense value to the economy and their
work is essential. While 82 per cent of women aged 25 to 54
are in the labour force, Canada has no national child care program.
Caregiver programs are part of the patchwork system where families seek
care for their children and dependent family members. The
report points out, "Care workers do the necessary work that enables our
society and economy to function. We care for children so their parents
can work, we provide the support needed for the elderly to live out the
last chapter of their lives in their homes, and care for people with
disabilities to support their independence. There is nothing
temporary about this work."
It is impermissible in a modern society that those who
take care of children, the sick and the elderly should be separated
from their own families for years. Society must care for the
caregivers, their well-being and that of their families. Stable and
permanent immigration status provides peace of mind for those who care
for the coming
generation and people with high medical needs to do their valuable
"To provide care to other people's families, while
being denied access to our own, imposes a cruel and damaging hardship
on Care Workers and our children. Care Workers should be able to arrive
in Canada with permanent resident status and with their families
intact," the report states.
1. The Campaign is led by the Caregivers' Action
Centre (Toronto); Caregiver Connections, Education and Support
Organization (Toronto); Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and
Caregivers Groups (Vancouver); PINAY Quebec (Montreal); The Association
for Rights of Household Workers
(Montreal); Migrante Alberta; Alberta Care Workers Association and,
Migrant Workers' Alliance for Change (Ontario coalition).
Caring for the Caregivers -- Interim Reforms
The Care Worker Report, Care Worker Voices for
Landed Status and Fairness has proposed a series of interim reforms
to be immediately put in place for caregivers already in Canada while a
new program is created providing landed status on arrival. The demands
include repeal of a number of changes imposed by the Harper
government in 2014, which the Trudeau Liberals have left
unchanged. These interim reforms are summarized below.
1. Applications for Permanent Residency status to
be accepted after 1950 hours of work.
2. Replace work permits tying workers to one
employer with open work permits which allow workers to leave bad
situations and seek new employment, and to find new employers when
elders pass away.
3. Remove the new
educational requirements for one year of post-secondary
Canadian-equivalent education in order to apply for permanent
4. English and French language testing prior to making a
permanent residency application should be removed from the
requirements, as language skills are already assessed before a work
permit is issued, but
higher levels are required to apply for permanent residency.
5. Remove the cap on applications so that all care
workers can apply for permanent residency after one year of work.
6. Process the backlog of permanent residency
applications and process.
7. Provide spouses and children with open work and study
permits of their
own so they can accompany care workers This is essential to end years
of forced separation of families.
8. Remove the second medical that is required when
applying for permanent residency, which adds unnecessary delays and
9. Repeal Section 38(1)c of the Immigration and
Refugee Protection Act ("Medical
Inadmissibility" rules) which
denies permanent residency to an entire family if even one member of
the family has a disability.
10. Eliminate recruiters. Despite laws prohibiting
recovery of recruiting fees from temporary foreign workers, a 2014
survey found that two-thirds of workers had paid recruiters, fees of
many thousands of dollars, the Care Worker Report
11. "Create a National Care Strategy that addresses the
broad, public and enduring need for quality care for children, the
elderly and people with disabilities. Decent work and permanent status
for the workers providing that care labour must be the foundation for
that Care Strategy."
12. Create a permanent Care Worker stream
as an economic class for permanent immigration.
13. Allow for care work in either the Child Care or High
Medical Needs Stream to count towards the one year work requirement.
Since 2014 care workers must accumulate all work experience within
14. Regularize the status of care workers who have
Workers' Fight for Safe Working Conditions
Important Health and Safety Resolution
from the Mining Sector
André Racicot, President, USW Local 9291,
speaks at the Quebec United Steelworkers annual meeting.
At the Annual Meeting of the Quebec United Steelworkers
which was held from
November 21 to 23, in La Malbaie, our Local 9291, which
is largely based in the mining sector, submitted a resolution in
defence of the work of the inspectors of the Labour Standards, Pay
Workplace Health and Safety Board (CNESST). This resolution was adopted
More and more, we are witnessing intervention by CNESST
management in the work of inspectors. Inspectors are responsible for
enforcing the law, investigating accidents, making statements of
offence to companies if articles of law have not been respected. The
inspectors do accident investigations and make recommendations so that
not happen again, but the recommendations themselves do not carry
weight. Previously, it was common for inspectors to write in their
report that the employer had not complied with this or that section of
the Occupational Health and Safety
Act and they based their reports on
the law and regulations. Now, we observe that when they make
findings, they prepare notices of correction to the employer or
intervention reports that require strong measures, but the central
management of the CNEEST modifies them, changes words to soften what
the inspectors put in their report. Inspectors have told us about this
problem. They say they are prevented from doing their work properly.
That's why in the resolution we submitted we asked that
an ombudsman position be created so that inspectors can do their job
without political interference.
Inspectors must be able to do their job without
political interference or retaliation. It
is common for employers to break the law and regulations. The inspector
makes a correction notice, then a second, then another, because the
problem is repeated. Then he says that this is enough; he issues a
ticket and recommends
to CNESST executives to issue a notice of offence to the employer.
CNEEST sends this to their legal department and often the inspector's
recommendation is not followed.
At the Westwood mine, for example, there was a rock
burst. The employer violated a section of the law, but was not
even fined. There is a lot of management intervention with the
inspection services to weaken the recommendations of the inspectors.
The inspector has an important function. He has powers
under the law, including the power to order the suspension of work or
the closing of a workplace if necessary. These powers are hindered by
the political intervention of the commission.
We can prove these allegations and demonstrate that
there is a problem with the inspection service. This situation cannot
I have worked in health and safety for a long time,
and, unfortunately, I have been involved in fatal accident
investigations. In recent years, we have seen that the inspection
reports are written from the point of view of avoiding
disputes and avoiding reprisals on the part of their employer.
More and more, the inspectors make inquiries only when
there have been deaths or several injured. This is contrary to the
principle of prevention. Investigation of incidents, even when there
are no deaths or injuries, can be used to prevent more serious
incidents occurring in the future. If we do not investigate rock
bursts in the mines,
how are we going to predict and prevent them?
Resolution on Inspection Service of the
Labour Standards, Pay Equity, and Workplace
Health and Safety Board
WHEREAS Several local unions in the mining sector note
CNESST inspection department has been struggling to carry out its
prevention work in recent years;
WHEREAS Several major health and safety violations in
the mining sector are noted by the CNESST inspection service;
WHEREAS Several serious and even fatal accident
conducted by the inspection service do not highlight all the obvious
shortcomings regarding the application of the law and the regulations;
WHEREAS CNESST's management is increasingly interfering
the content of the inspection services' investigations into fatal or
serious accidents, in order to change the content;
WHEREAS Some inspectors complain about political
CNESST management when they recommend statements of offence following
their intervention reports and/or accident investigation reports;
WHEREAS CNESST's inspection department has its hands
tied by CNESST management to carry out their prevention work adequately;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Quebec United Steelworkers,
together with the
Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ), make representations to the Quebec
Ministry of Labour to prevent any actions and political obstacles from
CNESST management that interfere with the Inspection Service during
accident investigations and the implementation of the
regulations and statements of offence.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Syndicat des
with the FTQ, put pressure on CNESST to ensure that its Inspection
Service is protected by an ombudsman service to counter the
interference of CNESST management so as to provide inspectors with the
necessary latitude to carry out their preventive work.
Passed at the Quebec United Steelworkers Annual
November 21-23, 2018, La Malbaie
Growing Sleep Deprivation among
Transportation Workers Need a Guarantee of Health Care
for Work-Related Illness
Many workers face multiple hazards every day in their
workplaces. Transportation workers are no exception. When referring to
transportation workers, truckers of all kinds immediately come to mind
but there are many other trades in this category of workers including
taxi drivers, Uber drivers, delivery drivers, bus drivers, couriers and
on. Truck drivers are the most numerous in this sector of the economy
with nearly 50,000 workers in Quebec and more than 220,000
workers across Canada.
Those who drive the roads and highways of the
country face dangers that can radically transform their lives and those
of their families as well as others in a moment. Drivers also
face the serious risk of death in an accident. The dangers of working
on the road are multiple and complex. There is a constantly changing
environment that changes road conditions, often several times in a
single day, but also an increasing number of vehicle drivers who are
under social pressure and high levels of stress related to problems
experienced in their daily lives, both work-related and other. It is
safe to say that the problems of society stemming from the neo-liberal
offensive of the last decades are reflected in many ways on Canadian
roads and highways.
An issue of increasing
concern to transport workers
regarding their physical and emotional health is lack of sleep.
According to researchers, lack of sleep is comparable to consumption of
alcohol. Two hours of sleep less per night, accumulated over two weeks
is equivalent to the loss of one night of sleep, which in turn is
equivalent to a blood
alcohol level of 0.08 per cent, the legal limit in Canada. Driver
fatigue is the determining factor in 30 to 40 per cent of
fatal accidents involving a heavy vehicle as fatigue makes the risk of
an accident six times higher. According to the Quebec Automobile
Insurance Company (SAAQ), fatigue is involved in 19 per cent of
fatal accidents and in 23 per cent of all personal injury
accidents on Québec roads.
The problem of lack of sleep is due to inhuman
conditions of long working hours, unreasonable delivery times and the
anarchic conditions of the transport industry in general, in which
drivers wage a daily struggle for their well-being, working conditions
and the defence of their rights.
Constant vigilance is required for driving heavy
vehicles and other vehicles for the health of transport workers.
According to Section 5 of Quebec's Act respecting health
services and social services, everyone has the right to receive
health and social services that are scientific, human and social, with
continuity and in a
personalized and safe manner. This right must be guaranteed and put
into practice effectively without any interference either by employers
or state institutions. Quebec's Act respecting occupational health
and safety and the Canada Labour Code must incorporate
articles that fully recognize the existence of this serious problem
among transport workers, not to mention other work-related illnesses
such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Representatives of the
rich elected in the various government bodies must take responsibility
for ensuring that the health and safety laws they themselves have
passed are implemented in all conditions and circumstances.
Problems related to lack of sleep and fatigue are now
compounded by the problem of sleep apnea, which has become a serious
health issue for the population. This is a condition where breathing is
interrupted during sleep, decreasing oxygen to the blood and causing
the sufferer to awake repeatedly throughout the night and experience
increased drowsiness during the day.
About 10 per cent of the population is affected by
sleep apnea. An estimated 3.2 million Canadians and 700,000
Quebeckers suffer from it. According to the SAAQ, 28 per cent of
truckers suffer from sleep apnea. No data exists for other categories
of transport workers. Research is being conducted to find out if sleep
apnea could be related to working conditions.
The consequences of sleep apnea and lack of sleep in
general are multiple: decreased intellectual performance, irritability,
decreased ability to drive, decreased libido, headaches, tendency to
depression, high blood pressure, stroke, heart problems (especially
myocardial infarction), premature aging, etc. There are countless
for families and other social relations. Every effort must be made to
facilitate treatment for sleep apnea among transport workers. It is
unacceptable that between one quarter and one third of transport
workers suffer from this disease. Yet there is no assurance they will
receive the care they require despite sleep apnea being a serious
worker and the public. No transport worker can be forced to put their
life and the lives of others in danger.
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