Celebrating National Aboriginal Day

June 21, 2016

Today the Canadian Labour Congress joins Indigenous communities across Canada in celebrating National Aboriginal Day.

The CLC is also taking this opportunity to congratulate the government for endorsing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this past May. The declaration recognizes Indigenous peoples’ basic rights on issues including language, land, health, and education.

“It is an endorsement that was a long time coming and we applaud the federal government for publicly making this important commitment to Indigenous rights,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.

But Yussuff noted there is still much work to do to ensure the principles in the declaration – as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report recommendations – are put into practice in Indigenous communities across Canada.

The CLC will work with affiliates on a labour framework for action to guide implementation of the TRC report recommendations.

“Unions, employers and government must all come together to challenge existing policies that have led to inequality and discrimination, gaps in equal access to employment, education, housing, child welfare, justice, and safe drinking water in Aboriginal communities,” said Yussuff.

For example, the unemployment rate of Indigenous Canadians has been in the double digits since 2007, compared to single-digit rates for non-Indigenous Canadians. When they are employed, Indigenous Canadians, particularly women, experience a significant income gap.

Indigenous women and girls are also at heightened risk of violent crime — 16 percent of women murdered in Canada between 1980 and 2012 were Aboriginal, according to government statistics.

“The inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women remains a priority for Canadian unions and we stand in support of women in Indigenous communities who are calling for a thorough process with a human rights framework,” said Yussuff.

Related Articles

Canada’s unions stand with India’s farmers and farm workers

Canada’s unions stand in solidarity with farmers and agricultural workers in India as they continue to protest recent reforms to agricultural laws that deregulate the industry and leave farmers and farm workers vulnerable to exploitation by international corporations. “Deregulating local produce markets will have a devastating impact on farmers, farm workers and food security in India,” said Canadian Labour Congress…
Read More

Canada’s unions call for pathway to permanent residency for all migrant workers

Canada’s unions are marking International Migrants Day by calling on the federal government to offer a pathway to permanent residency to all migrant workers who wish to apply. The federal government recently announced that it will be accepting applications for permanent residence from refugee claimants working in the healthcare sector. This important announcement recognizes the crucial contributions refugee workers have…
Read More

Canada’s unions welcome new bill to adopt Indigenous rights framework

Canada’s unions welcome the federal government’s recent announcement and subsequent tabling of a bill to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), a commitment which was to be fulfilled before the end of the year. The new bill, Bill C-15, comes four years after former NDP MP Romeo Saganash introduced Bill C-262, a similar private…
Read More