Archive for the 'House of Labour' Category

Today the B.C. Federation of Labour launched the Employee Action and Rights Network (EARN) in Vancouver.

In 2002, the Liberal government gutted employment standards in BC. This included eliminating the requirement that basic employment standards be posted in all workplaces. As a result the Federation regularly gets phone calls from workers who do not understand many of their fundamental rights on the job.

“There are laws in place to protect people at work, but too often workers aren’t given this information and they don’t know where to find it,” says Federation President Jim Sinclair.

Today, Federation volunteers conducted a street survey quiz, explained basic employment standards and began signing up members to EARN.

“EARN will be an important new resource for people anywhere in the province who want to know more about their workplace rights” says Sinclair. “The EARN network will provide answers to the questions these workers have. The EARN network will also create an opportunity for people who want to work together to begin to improve their working conditions. It will be a place to share stories and find out how other workers have dealt with similar situations.”

  • If a customer leaves a restaurant without paying, who has to pay the bill?
  • How much paid vacation time are you entitled to?
  • What is the minimum working age in BC?

Visit and take the street survey quiz to see how well you know basic workplace rights.

Retirement Security: Let’s make it work for everyone!

Fixing Our Pension Crisis: A Panel Discussion
with Sylvain Schetagne, Canadian Labour Congress, Senior Economist,
and Dr. Michael Prince, Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy

  • When: Wednesday, May 19, 2010
  • Where: BCGEU Building, 2994 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC
  • Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Admission is free and members of the public are welcome.

Organized by the Canadian Labour Congress, Victoria Labour Council. For information, please contact: Victoria Labour Council: 250-384-8331 Email: Download a poster here (.pdf)

PSAC BC is proud to be a DOXA Documentary Film Festival Community Partner! William Karel’s latest film “1929” – an analysis of the economic and financial mechanisms that lead to the crash of Wall Street and then to the Great Depression of the 1930’s – is showing Sunday, May 9th at Pacific Cinémathèque. Visit for more information.

April 28 marks the National Day of Mourning for workers who have been killed or injured on the job. PSAC joins with union activists across Canada and Quebec to remember the fallen and fight for change.

This year, the Canadian Labour Congress asks, “Is today the day you die at work?” If current trends continue, this question could prove to be more than rhetorical.

Last year was the 25th anniversary of the National Day of Mourning, and labour activists revealed that 25,000 workers had died from injuries and work-related diseases in Canada since the day’s inception.

Read more at the national website. The BC Fed has a list of events taking place throughout BC.

Why is occupational health & safety training essential?

It saves lives. British Columbia workers go to their grave each year as a direct result of workplace hazards. More die annually from cancer and other diseases caused by hazardous workplace exposures.

It prevents injuries and illnesses. Thousands suffer workplace injuries or develop work-related illnesses each year in BC. In 2008 there were 160 accepted fatality claims and 2.8 million total days lost from work due to injury and illness.

It is a sound economic and social investment. Injuries, occupational illnesses and fatalities affect the bottom line of any business – the average lost-time injury in BC costs $98,000 and the social costs associated with pain and suffering experienced by affected workers, their families and their communities can never be adequately gauged.

The BC Federation of Labour has just released their Occupational Health & Safety course schedule for the spring/summer. Visit for  course descriptions and more information.

Rally to protest gov­ern­ment fund­ing cuts and express your con­cern at the direc­tion our province is head­ing. Join with oth­ers who believe we can build a bet­ter BC.

  • Sat­ur­day, April 10, 2010 at noon
  • Van­cou­ver Art Gallery, north side – Georgia and Howe

Stand up to the cuts. Stand up for kids, arts, seniors and your community! Visit for more information.

In the week before International Women’s Day, the Canadian Labour Congress is launching an email campaign to let the Members of Parliament who voted in favour of scrapping Canada’s long gun registry know that this is the wrong thing to do!

Why is scrapping the gun registry the wrong thing to do? Among other things, it’s about violence against women.

More women in Canada are killed by their intimate partners than are killed by strangers – 65% of women murder victims are murdered by their intimate partners. In contrast, men are more likely to be killed by strangers, with only 15% of male homicides committed by their intimate partners. Most women are killed in their own homes – an Ontario study of risk factors of domestic violence found that possession or access to a firearm was the fourth most serious risk factor after marriage breakup, depression and a history of domestic violence.

In 1991 Canada brought in stricter gun control regulations, and also introduced the gun registry legislation in 1995.

The new laws focused on strengthening controls on rifles and shotguns – not just registering long guns but also strict regulations on the storage of these weapons. Since 1991 the overall rate of homicides with firearms (including handguns) in Canada is down by 40%. But the rate of homicides with rifles and shotguns has plummeted – a decrease of 70% in the same period. The number of women murdered by guns has fallen from 85 in 1991 to 24 in 2004.

In BC, Dona Cadman is one of the urban Conservative MPs who voted in favour of abolishing the registry. Please take a moment to visit the CLC website and send her an email asking her to change her mind.

Groups provide “reality check” on women’s equality – Labour, women’s groups will tell UN Canada is lagging

VANCOUVER, Feb. 22 /CNW/ – Labour and women’s groups have issued a report which they say is a “reality check” describing Canada’s lagging performance in achieving women’s equality. The report will be distributed at the Bejing plus 15 meeting being held at the United Nations in New York, March 1-12.

“Canadian women have lost a lot of ground in the past 15 years,” says Kay Sinclair, Public Service Alliance of Canada Regional Executive Vice President for BC. “Our government has sent a report to the United Nations that paints a rosy picture on women’s equality in Canada. We have written our own document and it is a reality check on what the government is saying.”

The UN meeting in March will evaluate progress, identify challenges, and recommend policies to promote gender equality and the advancement of women. This year holds special significance because it marks the 15th anniversary of the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women.

Sinclair continues, “We see the ravages of poverty every day in school classrooms, and rates are increasing at an alarming rate while the support mechanisms are disappearing or non-existent. With more women and girls living in poverty and being denied fundamental human rights, how can we build for a strong and prosperous Canadian future?” She adds, “Although Canada has made commitments to implement equal pay for work of equal value, the federal government hasn’t lived up to its commitments. The government removed the right to pay equity for federal public sector workers in 2009, with the adoption of the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act. We raise this issue in this report and it will be front and center for us next week at the United Nations in New York.”

Five years ago, Canada was ranked amongst the top ten countries in the world for its achievements in women’s human rights, but in 2009 Canada had fallen to 73rd in the UN Gender Disparity Index. Changes to gender architecture, shifts in policy and programming within the government, and the government’s response to the economic crisis have been felt by the most vulnerable women and girls in Canada.

The joint report is called Reality Check: Women in Canada and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action Fifteen Years On, A Canadian Civil Society Response. It was coordinated and produced by the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and the Canadian Labour Congress, and is endorsed by a variety of other organizations.

via Vancouver & District Labour Council

Today is Day 2 of the HMS Host food service lock out at YVR. HMS Host, the multinational airport contractor, locked out 300 Unite Here Local 40 members yesterday who were fighting to hang onto jobs that Host wants to eliminate immediately after the Olympics.

Working without a union contract since March 2009, HMS Host workers have tried everything to settle this dispute at the bargaining table. We were in bargaining with Host for 100 hours in the month of January yet Host was unwilling to provide basic job security and transfer rights for 60 long-time Milestones Restaurant workers who will lose their jobs after the Olympics–despite the fact that Host is opening a new White Spot restaurant nearby. Host is insisting on employing non-union workers in the new restaurant, rather than transferring the existing unionized workers.

As a last resort, Host workers took a one-day strike February 17. When they returned to work on February 18, Host locked them out.

Many Host workers earn little more than minimum wage. Most are women and new immigrants.

All 16 unionized HMS Host food service outlets at YVR remain closed, including 6 Tim Hortons locations, 2 Milestones restaurants, Harveys, Palominos, Stanleys, Pacfic Grill and other outlets. Host workers are picketing directly in front of the closed restaurants, inside the airport terminals.

If you can, please join the HMS Host workers on the picket line for a while. Your support will help keep spirits strong. Best place to meet up is Milestones on Level 3, domestic terminal or call 604-473-4815 for picketing location (sometimes we’re outside picketing, too)

Note: we are currently picketing only HMS Host. We are not trying to prevent other union workers at YVR from going to work–or travelers from using the airport.

Visit for more information.

Next budget must stress good jobs – Georgetti says unemployment, low wages hurting younger workers

clc-ctc.jpgOTTAWA – When the federal government introduces a new budget in March, it must make the creation of good jobs a priority, says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of labour force figures for December 2009. The unemployment rate remains at 8.5% and 1.57 million Canadian men and women are out of work.“Workers have had a dismal year and we’re not out of the woods yet,” he says.

Georgetti says that both the number and quality of jobs available are big issues for workers. “The income of most Canadian workers has dropped in the past decade, even while corporate executives saw their pay outpace inflation by 70%. Too many other Canadians are surviving on poorly paid and part-time jobs. The middle class is taking a beating and we have to turn that around.”


via BC Federation of Labour

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Please find attached a copy of the notice from CUPE BC about their Rally in protest of BILL 21 on

  • DATE: November 6, 2009
  • TIME: 11:30 am
  • PLACE: VANOC Headquarters, 3585 Graveley Street at Boundary

The BC Liberal government introduced “back-to-work” legislation against the Paramedics following an edict from VANOC directing them to end the strike.

Buses will depart CUPE BC Regional Office in Burnaby from Ledger Street at 10:45 am and from Gilmore Skytrain Station at 11:15 am, details are provided in the attached notice.

Please come out with your members and banners to help support your CUPE Brothers and Sisters.

In solidarity, JIM SINCLAIR, President

Clipboard01Please see below for information regarding the 2009 World Peace Forum Teach in or visit

>> Note that the BC Regional Council voted to purchase up to 30 tickets for PSAC members who may be interested in attending. Please email or call 604 430 5631 and ask for Patrick for a ticket – they are available on a first come/first served basis <<

From Crash to Catastrophe …

The ‘Great’ Depression, the rise of fascism, the debates that shook the workers’ movement, the Spanish Civil War, the transformation from coal to oil, the rise of the American Empire, the origins of mass media, the birth of mass industrial unions, youth, anti-war and solidarity movements and much more-the ‘thirties’ were a decade that had a huge impact on the world we live in today and the tasks that face activists. Following the success of the 2008 World Peace Forum Teach-In, which looked at the impact of World War I, this gathering of academics, artists and activists will discuss and debate the decade between the great ‘crash’ of October 1929 and the official beginning of the Second World War in September of 1939.

With the goal of supporting peace, economic and social justice and ecological sustainability, the World Peace Forum is creating a program featuring speakers from across North America who will shed light on the roots of the present in the past. In plenary sessions and smaller workshops the lessons of history and the tasks of today will be discussed and debated. On Remembrance Day, November 11, there will be a special series of panels for young people-the generation who will decide what the future of humanity will look like and whether there will be one.


The B.C. Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress are hosting a picnic to celebrate working people in British Columbia. Join us at this family event for free kids activities, family entertainment, 50-cent hotdogs, drinks and corn (no HST!).

Monday, September 7, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM at
John Hendry Park (Trout Lake) by Nanaimo Skytrain Station

For more information, and to download a poster visit

Join the PSAC Victoria Area Council, members and staff at the 21st annual Labour Day picnic in Victoria …

  • Date: Monday, September 7, 2009
  • Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Location: Irving Park corner of Menzies & Michigan, Victoria
  • Kids games – Clowns – Refreshments – Kids Eat Free – Fun for the whole family
  • Volunteers and Donations are Welcome! Please come out and join us in solidarity to Celebrate Labour Day!! For more information, email the Victoria Labour Council.

Download the poster (pdf).

Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future.

The United Nations General Assembly declared August 12 International Youth Day welcoming the mobilization of youth globally around a common issue and theme annually.

This International Youth Day 2009, as the world continues to feel the impact of the economic crisis, youth respond by looking for solutions under the theme Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future.

While everyone talks about the need for a more just and sustainable economy, youth in Canada are helping to define it. Through the Canadian Labour Congress participation in the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition we are creating a united front for young people across Canada on the climate change issue.

Emphasis is focused on Our Green Dream a youth-defined sustainable green jobs strategy. The project aims to establish an active network of young people to influence the direction and debate on green jobs in Canada, the transition of our economy and to realize the potential of a more just, green national community.


I am pleased to share that the BC Regional Council has approved support for PSAC members to attend this year’s BC Fed Young Worker’s Conference from September 25-27, 2009 at Camp Jubilee on Indian Arm.

Last year, the Region was able to support three young workers, including James Painter and Nicole Jacobson, the Regional Council Youth Representative and Alternate.

This is what Nicole had to share about the experience:

I had an excellent time meeting other young activists and building public speaking skills. The site is gorgeous. The experience reminded me of my many happy summers spent at camp.

If you are a PSAC young worker under the age of thirty, please consider applying by August 20th, 2009. Also, you are encouraged to approach you Local/Branch, and Component (if applicable) for support as well. This will help to ensure that as many PSAC young workers who are interested in attending will be able to.

If you aren’t a young worker, please consider passing this on to young workers in your workplace.

The September conference registration form can be found here:

Please send your form to the PSAC-BC REVP’s office, Attn: Kay Sinclair at and cc myself at or via fax at 604-430-0194.

In Solidarity,
Monica Urrutia
Regional Representative
Staff responsible for Youth Portfolio

Please note the CLC Labour College application deadline has been extended to July 24, 2009. Information and application forms are available on the CLC website.

VDLC Women’s Committee presents – Women in the Philippines with Laarni de los Reyes & Monica Urrutia

  • Tuesday, June 9
  • 7 pm to 9pm
  • Maritime Labour Center
  • Boardroom 3

Monica Urrutia and Laarni de los Reyes are members of the Philippine Women Centre. They recently participated in the VDLC labour tour to the Philippines. About 3,500 Filipinos leave the Philippines a day to work abroad. The majority of them are women recruited to Canada to work as live-in caregivers or as temporary workers in fast food companies.

Monica and Laarni will talk out about the economic and human rights conditions that force Filipino women to leave their families and their home country and the connections between Filipino and Canadian women. They will also share stories of Filipino women’s struggles, their organizing activities and their spirit of resistance.

Please RSVP to the VDLC office to ensure space.

via BC Federation of Labour


Next Tuesday, Gordon Campbell is holding the unofficial launch for the Liberal election campaign at the new Vancouver Convention Centre. Leadership in Tough Times he calls it.

The well-heeled corporate crowd is paying $125 a plate for this Vancouver Board of Trade event, it will be a welcoming crowd. After all, they are the only British Columbians who benefited from the last eight years of tax cuts, de-regulation and the sell-off of public services. They are set to survive the tough times quite comfortably, if they can re-elect the Liberals to do their bidding.

Join us to let the guests, the media, the public and Premier Campbell himself see that you know he is leading the province in the wrong direction. We cant afford four more years of Liberal leadership. Not when we have such tough challenges ahead.

Download the poster

In response to the world-wide financial instability affecting global equity markets, stakeholder concerns have prompted the federal government to undertake cross country hearings to examine the state of pension funds and the regulations that govern them.

The federal government regulates a number of private pension plans governed by the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985. These plans cover many workers in the federal jurisdiction in transportation, telecommunications and banking, including PSAC members employed by Canada Post, Nav Canada, Purolator Courier, members who work for the many airport authorities across the country and members who participate in separate pension plans in the Yukon and Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as members employed with other bargaining units governed by the Canada Labour Code.

The government’s discussion paper, called Strengthening the Legislative and Regulatory Framework for Private Pension Plans Subject to the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, was released January 9 and is available at the Department of Finance website at


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