Vancouver port. Photo: Gord McKenna/Flickr

Corporate giant charged with worker’s death in new precedent for Canadian justice

Last month, reported about the Canadian state’s cozy relationship with negligent employers, whereby the safety concerns of workers take a backseat to profit.

However, in an unprecedented move, a multinational corporation has been charged with criminal negligence for the 2009 death of Sam Fitzpatrick at a construction site in British Columbia.

Lockout ends at Vancouver port

A brief lockout at the Vancouver port ended after a long night of negotiations, according to Global News.

The 6,500 members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU) were locked out by their employer, the B.C. Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) as bargaining failed after 17 months of negotiations.

The two parties have reached a tentative deal, which will have to be ratified by the membership.

Winnipeg transit workers move closer to strike

On the centennial anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, 1,400 transit workers in the city voted overwhelmingly to reject the employer’s offer. However, the union opted for further negotiations.

Two weeks ago, transit operators refused to accept fares from passengers, highlighting their solidarity with passengers and building a cohesive movement for reliable and affordable public transportation.

Better protections for migrant workers, but are they good enough?

Temporary foreign workers often find themselves holding onto terrible jobs because their visas are tied to their employer, but new measures by the Trudeau government may offer them respite.

Temporary workers will be eligible to apply for open visas, but only in cases where they have been abused. That caveat of proving abuse is one reason why advocacy coalition Migrant Workers Alliance for Change is skeptical of the change, although the group acknowledges it’s a step in the right direction.

International students and foreign workers being exploited by immigration consultants and employers

Employers are taking substantial cash payoffs for providing jobs to international students and foreign nationals, according to a Globe and Mail investigation. The money is channeled through recruiters and immigration consultants, who charge people desperate for employment in order to maintain permanent residency status in Canada.

Once employed, international students can be further marginalized. Some told The Globe that they have had to work hours off the books for lower pay and no overtime, with some even having to pay back part of their wages.

Plumbers and steamfitters to go on strike

Plumbers and steamfitters from the Ontario Pipes Trades Council (OPTC) will go on strike after a 96 per cent vote to reject the employer’s offer.

OPTC says that Mechanical Contractors Association of Ontario (MCAO) is demanding too many concessions, including a longer work week.

“We have met with the contractors several times over the past few months, and they have not been willing to compromise or change their position,” said Ross Tius, from OPTC, in the union’s press release.

“They want to drastically change the working conditions of our members, and that is unacceptable to us.”

Unions launch harassment hotline for Canadian performers and directors

Unions ACTRA and the Directors Guild are launching hotlines for Canadian performers and directors to report sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination and violence.

The 25,000 members of the two unions will have access to the 24/7 hotline, which is accessible through multiple formats and is confidential.

Gender pay gap affects teenagers as well, according to survey

According to a Ipsos survey commissioned by Girl Guides of Canada, the gender pay gap also affects Canadian teenagers. The research was based on responses by over 1,200 girls and boys aged 12-18 regarding their summer employment in 2018.

For full-time jobs, boys were paid $18.01 an hour on average compared to $15.26 for girls.

United Steelworkers union places premium on safety in bargaining impasse

Bargaining impasse appears to be a common theme this week as talks have broken down between United Steelworkers and mining giant Vale. USW says it won’t compromise the safety of 227 members, who will be sent underground by their employer to mine ore.

“Vale has been unwilling to address important issues such as health and safety concerns that have become more crucial as the company develops its underground mining operations at Voisey’s Bay,” said Boyd Bussey, USW staff representative, in the union’s press release.

Zaid Noorsumar is rabble’s labour beat reporter for 2019, and is a journalist who has previously contributed to CBC, The Canadian Press, the Toronto Star and To contact Zaid with story leads, email zaid[at]

Photo: Gord McKenna/Flickr​


Zaid Noorsumar

Zaid Noorsumar is a journalist who has contributed to CBC, The Canadian Press and among other news outlets on issues spanning labour, politics, social justice and sports.