ILO to review Harper Government performance in the wake of union Labour Day activities

Labour Day activities by labour councils across Canada have combined with ILO reviews by the CLC International Department (ID) to deliver a strong message to the Harper Government, as well as to all Canadians, that “It’s Time for Change!”

Earlier this month, district labour councils organised events in 77 locations across the country, putting the federal government on notice that its attacks on workers’ wellbeing and social security are no longer acceptable.

In advance of the October 7 World Day for Decent Work and the upcoming national election on October 19, labour councils also responded in record numbers to call directly on the federal government to abandon its austerity programs, and to launch a full employment and Decent Work Agenda.

Their activities came a week after the CLC’s International Department submitted its most scathing review ever of the federal government record to the International Labour Organization (ILO). In its review, it produced evidence that Canada was systematically violating a number of the ILO Conventions that it has ratified, and argued that this policy direction was giving rise to higher levels of precarious work, more discrimination in the workplace, wage inequalities (especially for women), and a deterioration of occupational health and safety standards.

The review reports on five Canada-ratified Conventions have triggered an automatic review by the ILO of the government’s performance on a broad range of issues, to which responses are due next spring. It follows earlier reports to the ILO, in which the CLC has argued that Canada was also systematically violating international Conventions dealing with labour rights, collective bargaining and employment policy.

“For the first time in the CLC’s history, we have linked local actions of labour councils to an international process,” said CLC Executive Vice President, Marie Clarke Walker, adding that the responses expected from the ILO could play a role in shaping an agenda for change by a new government after the October 19 election.

Walker believes that the CLC reports are a strong indictment of Harper’s record on social and worker issues – in essence, he has displayed contempt for Canada’s international commitments. “We aim to report ILO’s findings to labour councils, and to help strengthen their resolve for a national Decent Work Agenda that respects workers’ rights and dignity,” she said.

For copies of the CLC reports to the ILO regarding the following ratified Conventions:

•        C88 – Employment Service
•        C100 – Equal Remuneration
•        C111 – Discrimination (Employment and Occupation)
•        C162 – Asbestos
•        C187 – Promotional Framework on Occupational Safety and Health