Bea Bruske was re-elected for a second term as President of the Canadian Labour Congress at the CLC’s 30th Constitutional Convention, held in Montreal in May of 2023. She was first elected to the position at the 29th Constitutional Convention, which was held virtually in 2021. She is only the second woman to hold the position.
Since being elected, Bea has led Canada’s unions to significant wins for the workers of this country. Under Bea’s leadership, Canada’s unions proudly fought for, and won: 10 days of paid sick leave for workers in the federal sector; dental care for children in low-income families; a 30-billion-dollar national child care program which was decades in the making; new health care accords adding 46 billion dollars over ten years; billions of dollars in investments for affordable housing and infrastructure; double the funding for union-provided apprenticeship training; and legislation to protect workers’ pensions when companies go bankrupt, making them the first priority ahead of big banks and creditors.
Bea has also prioritized the fight against climate change and has helped make significant gains to center workers in the transition to a net-zero economy. This includes the recent announcement of Bill C-50, the Sustainable Jobs Act. A sustainable future isn’t achievable if workers aren’t at the heart of climate plans, and this bill recognizes the vital importance of unions, industry and governments working together.
In 2022, Maclean’s named Bea to its “Power List”, the magazine’s ranking of the country’s 50 most powerful people in Canada.
For more than three decades, Bea has served workers and their families as an activist, workers’ advocate, negotiator, community organizer and labour leader. Before her election as President, Bea served as Vice-President of the UFCW Canada National Council, which sets the strategic direction for the national union and its more than 250,000 members across the country. She had previously served as Secretary-Treasurer for UFCW Local 832, where she was responsible for the largest private-sector union local in Manitoba.
Bea’s passion for the rights of working people was ignited in 1987 when she and her UFCW Local 832 co-workers held the line for 125 days to achieve a fair contract at the Westfair grocery chain in Manitoba. Over the next seven years, Bea took on roles as a shop steward, health and safety committee member, and was elected by her fellow members as a vice-president of the local’s executive board. She is a graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Labour Studies program.