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Service cuts in Ontario's austerity budget spark protest

Photo: Ella Bedard

Hundreds of public sector union members rallied outside the Ontario government buildings on Thursday to protest the provincial budget.

"This is about the kind of Ontario that we want," said OPSEU Executive Board Member Ibrahim Bozai, "We are anticipating serious cuts. We’re anticipating the government digging in their heels when it comes to investments in public services, and more privatization."

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This week in labour: Budget fails and municipal woes

Photo: Flickr/library and Archives Canada

The Federal and Ontario budgets announced this week were packed with austerity. The false promises of balanced budgets were used to justify service cuts and privatization across the board. Add that to the similarly lean budget released by the Nova Scotia Liberals last week and we’ve got a whole lot of mess coming our way.

What’s that saying? April austerity brings what in May? Here's what happened this week in labour:

 

 

 

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Saskatchewan becomes the first province in Canada to fly the transgender flag

Photo: flickr/Daily Xtra

Saskatchewan became the first province in Canada to fly the flag of the transgender community on March 31. Though the action is symbolic, it comes at a time where the acceptance of transgender individuals has often lagged behind those of the wider LGBTQ community.

The flag was flown to mark the International Day of Transgender Visibility, meant to promote awareness of the trans community and the human rights issues they still face.

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This week in labour: Dissent springs eternal

Photo: tpmartins/flickr

OK, now even in the Maritimes spring has sprung and with it, a deluge of actions. This week the "Fight for $15" protests turned into what is being called the largest protests of low-wage workers in U.S. history, and thousands of Canadians joined their ranks. The best thing about these protests are the slogans, which turn fast-food platitudes on their heads with chants like "All those burgers, all those fries. We want wages supersized!" With more unions starting to mobilize for the election, if the pressure keeps up, we could be in for a hot summer of protests and change.

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Canadian workers are joining global action: The fight for $15 minimum wage

Photo: Flickr/Light Brigading

From Thunder Bay to Victoria, major protests will take place in Canada tomorrow as part of global Day of Action to demand higher minimum wages and decent working conditions. 

Scheduled for April 15 (4/15), the date echoes the demand of protesters in the United States and across Canada for a $15 minimum wage. 

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Canada called upon to recognize human rights violations in Mexico

Jorge Luis Clemente Balbuena, a survivor of the September 26, 2014 attack on students by Mexican police, and Hilda Legideño Vargas, the mother of one of the 43 students who was disappeared following the attack, are travelling across Canada on the Ayotzinapa to Ottawa Caravan to meet with politicians and civil society leaders.

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Quebec City: Pressure building on climate and tar sands

On Saturday April 11, 25,000 people took to the streets in Quebec City for a legal protest, the Act on Climate March.

A number of conferences were held over the weekend, put on by student associations, unions and environmental NGOs.

On April 13 and 14, Canada's Premiers will be meeting in Quebec City to discuss their approaches to climate change moving forward.

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Poor response to toxic spill in Vancouver warns against bitumen

Photo: Tyson Kelsall

On Thursday April 9, residents in Vancouver -- occupied xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh and Səl̓ílwəta land -- woke to news of a toxic fuel spill in English Bay, remnants having made their way to a popular downtown beach.

According to Vancouver City Councilor Geoff Meggs, the federal government had reports of the spill between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday, but didn't officially notify the City of Vancouver until 6 a.m. Thursday.

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This week in labour: Take that, austerity!

Photo: flickr/Matthew Black

In addition to all this great news, you should know that this is World Health Workers Week! That means that if you see your doctor, nurse, physical therapist, hospital cleaner, security guard, occupational therapist -- whatever their position -- maybe don't forget to smile and wave and say "Thank you for keeping me alive!"

Here are some of the big stories in Canadian Labour this week:

 

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Website calling for corporate tax increases deemed unfit by Alberta election laws

Photo: screenshot

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