Canada’s unions call for fairness to mark Black History Month

February 1, 2020

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.

Related Articles

Canada’s unions say marginalized workers must not be forgotten during pandemic

Canada’s unions are marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by calling on the federal government to protect the rights of marginalized workers and refugees as part of its COVID-19 response. Migrant workers, undocumented people, people living on low-incomes, international students, racialized workers and refugees are particularly vulnerable to the health fallout of the current pandemic, as…
Read More

#DoneWaiting: Make Canada a Leader in Global in Gender Equality

This International Women’s Day, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to meet its international obligations and show real progress towards women’s equality and economic justice. “We know some steps the federal government can take right now to be a global leader in gender equality—if they are bold enough,” said Marie Clarke Walker, Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress.…
Read More

Canada’s Unions remember third anniversary of Quebec mosque attack

Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress issued the following statement: “Canada’s unions stand with the Muslim community today as we mark three years since the deadly attack on a Quebec City mosque. Our hearts are with the community of Quebec City’s Islamic Cultural Centre, and across Canada and to the friends and families of the six men killed…
Read More