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New research helps advocate for a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Image: generously donated by www.jonlabillois.com

What does it take to protect Indigenous women from violence?

Tina Fontaine was a young woman who should have had her whole life ahead of her. She was a much loved daughter, niece, sister and friend. She was also a citizen of the Sagkeeng First Nation and member of an Indigenous community with a rich cultural heritage. However, this past summer she also became another number in a shameful statistic: one of over 1,100 Indigenous women and girls to have gone missing or been murdered in Canada since 1980.

Responding to Tina's death, vigils were held, bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups in a renewed call for a national commission of inquiry into the appallingly high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

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Toronto is now home to world's first harm-reduction workers' union

Image: THRWU

Toronto is home to the world's first ever harm-reduction workers' union: THRWU.

On November 11, workers at South Riverdale and Central Toronto Community health centres told their employers that they had joined the Toronto Harm Reduction Workers Union (THRWU) and demanded recognition.

With 50 members and counting, the union represents a wide range of professions including HIV/AIDS workers, workers involved in the distribution of safe usage tools, overdose prevention workers, peer workers, Hepatitis C workers, and nurses -- to name only a few.

While some THRWU members work in paid positions, others work as volunteers or are unemployed. 

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NB Premier Gallant and Liberals dodge abortion first day Legislature sits

Photo: Amelia Pendelton

Freezing rain did not stop 60 people from rallying for abortion access and comprehensive reproductive health services outside the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly on Dec. 3 as it sat for the first time to hear the Gallant government's throne speech.

"We are disappointed to hear that the throne speech did not only not include abortion access, it did not mention health care even once," says Jessi Taylor with Reproductive Justice NB (RJNB), the group that organized the rally.

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Stark revelations from workplace labour survey on domestic violence

Photo: flickr/Hibr

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has vowed to take action following their release of a sobering study on the impact of domestic violence in the workplace. 

Conducted by Western University's Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children (CREVAWC) in partnership with the CLC, the study surveyed over 8,000 workers from across Canada about their experience with domestic violence.  

Survey results show that domestic violence is following people to work, has a significant impact on performance, and is in some cases resulting in job loss: 

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Take on global warming from your dinner table

Photo: flickr/flora cyclam

Every time the most everyday kind of people make the most modest kind of change for the better in their food habits, they have a triple-whammy effect that the cognoscenti of global warming are unaware of.

The Annual Trudeau Foundation Conference on weathering  the change of impending climate chaos, held in Toronto from November 20-22, distinguished itself by defining food as a crucial factor in global warming.

That represents progress in a field dominated by organizations -- be it Greenpeace or Intergovernmental Panels on Climate Change or be they organizations promoting left-wing analysis -- who talk almost exclusively about greenhouse gases coming from car-based transportation and inefficiently-designed buildings.

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Alberta 'ground zero' for abuse of Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Photo: flickr/jasonwoodhead23

For the first time, the federal government has come down on an Alberta employer for misusing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Noralta Lodge is a hotel chain in northern Alberta that specializes in providing accommodations for oilfield workers. After a six month audit, the government found that Noralta provided "false, misleading or inaccurate information" in its request for a Labour Market Opinion, which permits an employer to hire staff through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. 

The resulting punishment landed Noralta on the blacklist and barred the lodge from using temporary foreign workers for two years.

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Anti-austerity marches take over Quebec streets

Photo : Raynald Leblanc

All photos used with permission from Confédération des syndicats nationaux.

Thousands of people stormed the streets in Montreal and Quebec City this past weekend to protest against austerity measures proposed by the Quebec national government.

The march was organized by Collectif refusons l'austérité, a group that includes several union and student movements such as L'ASSÉ and Centrale des syndicats du Quebec.

Around 100,000 Montreal protesters descended on the downtown streets, making their way to Place des Festivals from René-Levesque Boulevard.

The anti-austerity movement inspired its own hashtag on Twitter: #manif29nov.

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Harper government's changes to Live-in Caregiver Program harm workers

On November 22, 2014, caregivers and their allies gathered in front of Citizenship and Immigration Canada's offices in downtown Toronto to protest the provision of caps to the numbers of caregiver entries to Canada and new language and licensing requirements for caregivers.

Brandishing placards stating "Conservatives' New Laws Hurt Caregivers" and "Stop Stealing Permanent Residency from Caregivers," those present were unanimous in their belief that the new changes hurt caregivers and that caregivers deserved landed status upon arrival.

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Abortion restriction in New Brunswick lifted but access still a problem

Photo: Tracy Glynn

Accessing a publicly funded abortion in New Brunswick will no longer require two doctors certifying the procedure as "medically necessary" after January 1, 2015. Newly elected Liberal Premier Brian Gallant announced the removal of the restriction found in the Medical Services Payment Act on Nov. 26.

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UberX speeds taxi drivers toward precarious work

Photo: flickr/Ashtonpal

The ride-sharing app Uber has received a lot of press in recent weeks, most of it bad.

Thousands of smartphone users took photos of themselves deleting the Uber application from their phone, after Senior Executive Emil Michaels suggested that the company spend a million dollars to smear journalists who have criticized Uber.

Much of the controversy around Uber stems from its attempt to import an operational model that works best for online exchanges into the real world. In the "fine print" on their website, Uber claims that it "is not a transportation provider."

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