Of the 200 labour activists who lobbied on Parliament Hill under the banner of the CLC (Canadian Labour Congress), 57 were from IAM Canada.
The main issues to be addressed were, the need for a quicker implementation of the Anti-Scab Law, a national Pharma care plan and sustainable jobs.
A detailed report by LL1231 Trustee Johua Tunde down below, gives a comprehensive view of the events that transpired :
He states “The just concluded 2023 Ottawa Lobbying at Parliament Hill, was purported for the elected officials to understand and actively support the policy goals. The 3 main themes are
1. Sustainable Jobs
2. Anti- scab legislation
1. Universality: all Canadians must be entitled to same level of Pharmacare
2. Accessibility: All Canadians must have reasonable access to the Prescription medication they need, regardless of their income, age or where they live. No co payments, no deductibles.
4. Publicly administered
5. Portability-access to Canadians in all provinces/territory
It is important that the federal government accelerate the plans (Pharma care 2023).
This is the replacement of striking workers by their employers with the use of scab labor. This process pits desperate workers against each other . It’s against the values of social justice, equality and fair pay held by working people in Canada.
– The bill should be brought into effect immediately by Royal Assent.
– All exceptions for bargaining unit work performed by scab workers should be removed (Anti-scab legislation, 2023)
The introduction of Bill C – 50, the Sustainable Jobs Act, is an important first step and Canada’s unions are pleased that it reflects many of our priorities.
-Keeping Canada’s promises
– Have workers at the table
– Commit to creating new jobs, protecting good Jobs, and making sure people can move from high carbon to low carbon Jobs
– Sustainable Jobs must mean good jobs
– Invest in training
– Invest in communities
– Invest in the future
– Consulting and engaging affected stakeholders
– Climate change is a health and safety issue ( Sustainable Jobs 2023).
1. Pharma care 2023: Canadian Labour Congress
2. Anti-Scab legislation 2023: Canadian Labour Congress
3. Sustainable Jobs 2023: Canadian Labour Congress
Sister Lystra Mohammed LL1231 Trustee, in her report says “It was my first time going to Ottawa to Lobby at Parliament Hill. Registering and learning about the guide to lobbying from the Canadian Labour Congress was very informative. Meeting with the different Delegates from my group and hearing everyone’s views about the topics we were going to discuss and lobby was all new to me.
These are the topics that the Delegates was lobbying for:
ANTI-SCAB LEGISLATION 2023
SUSTAINABLE JOBS 2023
There was a lot of information from the CLC which had us equipped with what we were to talk about with the MPs and the elected officials. It was also left open to discuss our Legislation issues with them. I had the opportunity to meet with 3 elected officials from different parties and they were all receptive about what we had to say and had positive feedback to give us. I also had the opportunity to talk about Pharma care. As PSWs we have clients who are directly affected by this, not having enough funds to get essential medication and the negative impact it can have on their health as a whole, which can be detrimental to them and their Healthcare. The lobbying was a success as some members of my group were known to the officials, as it was not their first time lobbying at Ottawa. IAMAW was very powerful and was know to most of the Politicians. I was so proud to be involved with our union and look forward to these legislations being passed .I thank everyone who made it possible for me to attend.”
Sister Marcia Stone Recording Secretary of the LL1231 said in her report, “This was my second time there this year and I find this experience again very educational. I met with Ruby Sahota Brampton North, Liberal Party of Canada, again. I wanted to asked her the follow-up questions but I didn’t get a chance because of the tight schedule. I spoke to her about Pharma care. I told her that I would stand with her in her endeavour to create a single-pay prescription drug plan that provides coverage for all residents regardless of their income, age, or where they live. I gave her an example of my mother who had to pay $350.00 for one drug because she did not have private insurance coverage despite being a senior on a fixed income. She assured me again that she will surely look into the matter. We all stand for Solidarity“
Sister Marene Robinson reported that “On November 28th a group of 10 delegates from LL1231 attended the Canadian Labour Congress, Lobby at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Our goal was to lobby the government on the things that are affecting our members now and in the future. This year we lobbied on three major issues: Pharmacare, Antis-scab legislation and sustainable jobs.
We asked the government to create a single-payer universal public prescription drug plan that provides coverage for all residents regardless of what their income are, were, or where they live. We also asked that the plan be portable and must follow Canadians no matter which province or territory they move to or live in.
Canada Pharma care plan must have a comprehensive list of medicines that ensure superior drug choice, safe and effective prescription drug use and the best value for money. It should be evidence based for the best health outcomes and should be evaluated on an ongoing basis by an arms-length, publicly accountable non-partisan oversight body.
With high prices, people are struggling and hurting. No one should have to make the tough choice of choosing whether to pay for rent, groceries or the medicine they need. Universal Pharma care will help.”
In concluding Marene said, ” Ottawa was cold, we had some long walks, but our hearts were warm knowing that we were doing what was good for our members and our country Canada. Thanks for the opportunity to represent our union.”
The schedule of events at the CLC Lobby at Parliament Hill, are described below for those that are interested :
On Monday evening, the IAM had a caucus meeting of members from across Canada. They discussed their important issues, which included lobbying on behalf of workers and working families. The CLC also conducted “Lobbying Training” for the delegates of the different Unions.
First time IAM attendees were taken under the wings of the veteran members, showing them the ropes, thus making them comfortable in their interactions with the Senators, MPs and other political dignitaries that were present.
On Tuesday, more than 200 labour activists met with MPs on Parliament Hill under the banner of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
“The more we lobby our elected officials on topics important to workers and the more we are comfortable in doing so, the more we will be able to persuade them that we are a force to be reckoned with,” said Derek Ferguson, Grand Lodge Representative responsible for Political Action. “I look forward to having as many IAM members trained in political action and lobbying as possible so that we can be a voice for working people.”
Some pictures of the event.