Today is Labour Day.
It is the unofficial end of summer and a cherished long weekend for some - and for many others, a time to celebrate the hard-fought wins of the labour movement and steel ourselves for the work still yet to come.
This year we saw workers from all sorts of industries fight for their rights, for fair treatment, and for decent work. We saw Starbucks, Amazon, and gig workers stand up for themselves, and we saw education workers and health care workers lead the way in telling those in power what workers need and where they are falling short. In Ontario, where I live, we saw Bill 124 become a ballot box issue during the provincial election campaign.
We have only to look at our struggling health care system to see the value of workers and the need for collective organizing. Although public health care is regularly talked about as a bedrock of Canadian society and untouchable politically, there are currently two fights simultaneously occurring that would undermine the system we boast of so proudly.
In British Columbia, the Cambie case continues to make its way through the courts, extending the looming threat of giving preferential access to higher-paying individuals or private insurance. In Ontario, the Ford government continues to crack the door wider toward allowing for-profit health care. Thankfully, the labour movement continues to fight to protect and preserve our health care system.
We must stand with these workers and with the labour movement to fight for a better future for all. As we mark another Labour Day we are called to remember the great things we have achieved together. Let’s also remember that our ability to improve our country is limited only by our imagination.
Founder, the Broadbent Institute
PS - If you haven’t already, I encourage you to subscribe to Press Progress’ labour newsletter, Shift Work. This newsletter provides a weekly snapshot of Canada’s labour movement that you won’t find anywhere else.