Ending Discrimination

Sheryl Burns awarded the 2021 Carol McGregor CLC Disability Rights Award

December 2, 2021

December 3 marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which aims to promote awareness and mobilize support for disability rights issues.

On this day, the Canadian Labour Congress recognizes a union member with an award for their disability rights activism. The award is named in honour of Carol McGregor, an outstanding disability rights activist, member of BCGEU/NUPGE and the CLC Disability Rights Working Group, who was much loved by all those who worked with her. Carol passed away in 2006.

On the tenth anniversary of this award, the Canadian Labour Congress is pleased to announce Sheryl Burns as the 2021 recipient of the Carol McGregor CLC Disability Rights Award.

Sheryl became a union activist and CUPE member in 2005, working in Vancouver’s women’s shelters and as a legal advocate supporting survivors of abuse, including women with disabilities. She is now the President of CUPE Local 1936, representing social service workers throughout British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. In this role, she provides fierce advocacy to ensure the duty to accommodate is enforced for members who are permanently or temporarily disabled.

She is recognized for her outstanding leadership for persons with disabilities in Canada’s labour movement and tireless advocacy in the community. This includes fighting for and winning accommodations for workers, crucially preventing job loss, ensuring job gain, and significantly improving working conditions for workers with disabilities. Most recently, Sheryl led important work to ensure accommodations for workers struggling with mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sheryl has spoken on various panels and delivered numerous workshops on disability rights and decent work for people with disabilities and has pushed for important changes within CUPE and the broader labour movement, including improved accessibility provisions and increased representation of members with disabilities in leadership positions.

In the community, Sheryl holds a position on the Executive Board for Disability Alliance British Columbia and was previously a member of the City of Vancouver Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee. In these roles she worked on campaigns for improvements to emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities, a strengthened Guide and Assistance Dog Act, a push for more accessible transportation, and improvements to income assistance and housing for persons with disabilities, among other issues.

Sheryl is a General Vice-President on the CUPE BC Executive Board, has been the co-chair of the CUPE BC Persons with Disabilities Committee, and currently sits on the Executive Council of the BC Federation of Labour as the Persons with Disabilities Representative, a position she has held since 2014.

“Sheryl has been a powerful advocate for disability rights throughout her life, bringing her lived experience as a woman with a hearing disability to a multitude of spaces,” said nominators, Mark Hancock (National President, CUPE) and Charles Fleury (National Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE). “She has displayed incredible strength and courage in negotiating ableist barriers to achieve significant change and improvements for persons with disabilities in Canada.”

Congratulations, Sheryl!

  • Forward Together
  • An economy rigged against workers could mean a ‘Winter of Discontent.’

    January 26, 2023
    Click to open the link
  • Forward Together
  • Bank of Canada’s eighth consecutive rate hike means workers will take another hit

    January 25, 2023
    Click to open the link
  • Social Justice and Democracy
  • Politicians must collaborate to find solutions for Canada’s struggling workers

    January 24, 2023
    Click to open the link
  • Forward Together
  • Canada’s unions congratulate Magali Picard on historic FTQ presidential win

    January 19, 2023
    Click to open the link
  • Social Justice and Democracy
  • Beware of Premiers bearing promises of a quick health care fix

    January 16, 2023
    Click to open the link
  • Trade and International Affairs
  • Statement by the Canadian Labour Congress regarding the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

    January 14, 2023
    Click to open the link
  • Forward Together
  • As we head into the holidays, Canadians are struggling after being hammered by aggressive interest rate hikes

    December 21, 2022
    Click to open the link
  • Gender Equality
  • Statement from Bea Bruske on the mass shooting in Vaughan, Ontario

    December 19, 2022
    Click to open the link
  • Jobs, Economy and Environment
  • International Migrants Day: Canada must do more to help undocumented people secure their rights

    December 18, 2022
    Click to open the link