Stability is not in the cards for Canadian workers, with young workers particularly affected, according to this year's Vital Signs Reports from the Community Foundations of Canada.
The first Vital Signs was produced by the Toronto Community Foundation in 2001. It assembled local research and national data to paint a broad strokes picture of community health. Since its inception the Vitals project has expanded to include a total of 49 Canadian communities big and small, who have produced reports or are acting on findings from previous reports.
It's been just over a year since the formation of Unifor on Labour Day of 2013. Last weekend, the union held the Good Jobs Summit, where the Unifor's first president, Jerry Dias, spoke several times about the importance of reaching out to all sectors to keep and create more good jobs.
Speakers at the summit came from the realms of business and politics. They included prominent Liberal politicians like Wynne and Justin Trudeau, leading some to speculate that Unifor might be breaking their traditional ties with the NDP. But Dias says no.
"I am going to think about the labour movement first," he explained.
Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow tweeted that she and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne are in agreement on transit, after the Premier's speech at the Good Jobs Summit.
On Oct 4, Wynne addressed the delegates at the summit, a combination conference and convention organized by private sector union Unifor in the hopes of jumpstarting a cross-sectorial discussion about how to ensure there are better jobs available for Canadians in the future.
Wynne spoke at length about the importance of infrastructure projects, like the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line in Toronto, in job creation, noting that along the 19km line are five priority neighbourhoods that have historically low-income and disadvantaged residents.
At the Good Jobs Summit in Toronto, about 1,000 people from across the country gathered over the weekend to examine that question, hear expert commentary and contribute to the dialogue around the employment challenges affecting millions in our country. They also set forth possible solutions toward establishing a more just society with greater job opportunities for all.
In the spirit of that dialogue, rabble asked a diverse group of five people about the issues raised at the summit and what they meant to them. Here's what they took away from the three-day gathering.
Amanda Cope, fourth year student majoring in Political Science and Labour Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario:
CHARLOTTETOWN – The PEI Coalition for Fair EI is asking tourists to support Island workers in their fight to defend Canada's Employment Insurance Program.
Since 2011, Conservative Government changes have reduced Island workers' access to Canada's Employment Insurance program.
Most notably, the January 2013 overhaul of the program penalizes repeat claimants and requires workers to look for and accept lower paying work further from home. Many feel these changes are putting pressure on Prince Edward Islanders to leave the Island in search of work.
Today, members of the Coalition will greet passengers of the Princess Ruby -- a cruise ship carrying 3000 travellers -- as they re-board the ship after spending a day touring the Island.
Van Jones is a CNN commentator, green jobs advocate, and former advisor to US President Barack Obama. His keynote at the Good Jobs Summit began with an oveview of the Harper government agenda. He commented that the left has become very good at saying what they oppose - but that we are challenged to speak to what we believe in. Saying "Propostion, not just opposition", Van Jones challenges us to speak to the vision we want, ending his talk with the call for "Green for all". Listen to the full, exciting and inspiriing raw audio from his talk here.
Day two of the Good Jobs Summit kicked off with a discussion featuring Canadian Federation of Students National Chairperson, Jessica McCormick, GE Canada President and CEO, Elyse Allan, and the Canadian Labour Congress, President, Hassan Yussuff. An unusual mix of perspectives sharing one stage. Listen to the audio in the raw here.