Head of Canada’s unions set to preside over his final Convention after navigating pandemic response

June 15, 2021

Nearly 4,000 delegates poised to elect new leadership

OTTAWA – This week, union members from across the country are meeting online for the Canadian Labour Congress’ triennial convention to debate the labour movement’s priorities and to elect new leadership.

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is Canada’s major umbrella organization of national unions, provincial federations of labour and local labour councils and represents over three million workers.

The convention, originally scheduled for last May but postponed due to the pandemic, will be CLC President Hassan Yussuff’s final official duty before his retirement.

Yussuff became the first person of colour to lead Canada’s union movement when he was elected to the presidency in 2014 after having spent 15 years as part of the Executive team in various roles. Yussuff was planning to step down in 2020, but his term was extended to help confront the challenges of the pandemic.

“Practically overnight, Canada’s workers were looking down a dark, uncertain tunnel of fear about safety, joblessness, precarity and disruption that we had to address quickly,” said Yussuff, who worked with the federal government to push for worker protections. “Our priorities included ensuring that workers had adequate personal protective equipment, emergency income supports, and ensuring that governments addressed the gaps impacting frontline workers, including women and members of equity seeking communities. We were able to do much of this and help workers get through one of the most challenging moments in our history.”

Yussuff has long been at the forefront of improving conditions for Canada’s workers and their families, winning victories like a $15 dollar federal minimum wage, an expanded Canada Pension Plan, a national ban on asbestos and funding for a national child care program, and paid domestic leave, among other gains. Yussuff sat on the government’s NAFTA advisory panel, as part of an unprecedented involvement of Canada’s labour unions in the trade negotiations, and he also co-chaired the Just Transition Task Force for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities.

This year’s convention theme is “Defining the Future.” Delegates will be tasked with debating key policy resolutions that will address current and emerging issues in Canada’s political landscape, and will help shape a strong COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

“This event is ground-breaking,” said Yussuff. “Never before have so many union members met virtually in a setting such as this one. We hope to establish a clear roadmap for Canada’s unions that includes looking ahead to a strong pandemic recovery that puts people first, and leaves no one behind. This event will be a defining moment for Canada’s unions.”

Delegates will be electing a new CLC executive on Friday, June 18. They will cast electronic ballots for the roles of President, Secretary-Treasurer and Executive Vice-Presidents.

To arrange an interview, please contact:
CLC Media Relations

Tags: Conventions
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