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Toronto – November 30, 2015 – UFCW Canada members, officers, and staff from across Ontario came out in full force for the 13th Biennial Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) Convention, involving more than 1,500 delegates and leaders representing a million plus union members throughout the province.
During the week-long convention, from November 23 to 27, UFCW Canada led the way in helping to elect the FedForward team to usher in a new era at the OFL. With widespread support from delegates waving FedForward bandanas, Chris Buckley and Patty Coates were acclaimed as OFL President and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively. And at 33 years old, UFCW Local 1000A activist Ahmad Gaied was elected as Executive Vice President of the federation, the youngest person ever to be elected to the position.
Local 1000A President Pearl Sawyer and Derek Johnstone from the National Office will continue to serve as Vice-Presidents representing UFCW Canada members on the OFL Executive Board, and national representative Pablo Godoy was once again re-elected as the OFL Vice-President representing Workers of Colour.
UFCW activists also played a key role in passing and speaking on resolutions supporting reform of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), fighting income inequality, working to eliminate police carding and other forms of discrimination, and reducing barriers to unionizing. As well, UFCW Canada Local 175 benefits representative Sheree Backus facilitated a forum on workers' compensation and health and safety on Day 4 of the convention.
In addition to rallying activists on the convention floor, UFCW Canada dedicated the week to mobilizing delegates through a number of ground-breaking campaigns for fairness, including the Repeal Bill C-377, #NotOkay, and #OurWalmartVoices campaigns, which conventioneers gladly supported while passing by the dynamic UFCW Canada information booth.
Over the course of the action-packed convention, delegates heard from federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuf, and rallied on the streets of Toronto for a $15 minimum wage and respect for injured workers in Ontario.
Convention-goers were also treated to a live performance of 100 Years of Solidarity Volume 2, a CD compilation of labour songs written and performed by Brother Godoy, The Real Sun, and a host of other Canadian artists and labour activists.
The next OFL Convention will be held in November 2017 and will mark the 60th anniversary of the federation.