To mark Black History Month this year, Canada’s unions call on the government to take meaningful actions to address the disparities in employment for Black workers.
Statistics show workers of colour are more likely to be employed in precarious, low-wage jobs with no benefits. These workers also have higher unemployment rates. In fact, the unemployment rate of Black women is almost double that of non-racialized women. Black men earn 66 cents for every dollar a non-racialized man earns, and Black women only 56 cents per dollar.
One important way to address these disparities is to strengthen the federal Employment Equity Act, and restore mandatory compliance with the Act for federal contractors.
“Strengthening the Employment Equity Act is one step towards fairness for racialized workers,” said Canadian Labour Congress Vice-President Larry Rousseau. “In our country’s history we have seen men and women of colour work to support each other, even when discriminatory laws made it that much more difficult. We owe it to them to correct such inequality moving forward.”
From Desmond Davis and the other founders of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters to his daughter, Janice Gairey, former Human Rights Director at the Ontario Federation of Labour. From Carrie Best, who founded her own newspaper and worked to publicize the case of Viola Desmond, to her son Cal Best, former President of the Civil Service Association of Canada.
“These workers and activists and many, many more have paved the way and ensured the participation of racialized workers who follow in their footsteps,” said Rousseau. “Now we will pave the way for future workers.”
For Black History Month, the Canadian Labour Congress will be doing interviews with Black union leaders, please check our Facebook page for more information.