| Members of the Desjardins Card Services negotiating committee taken in February 2019. |
Lizette Martinez, Cédric Beaume, Leslie Lavache and Kevin Fernandes
Montreal – September 28, 2021 – Last June, the Canadian Parliament passed legislation to create a statutory holiday for federal government employees and federally regulated workplaces to commemorate the tragic fate of residential school victims. Thus, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation has been declared for September 30 of each year.
Although Desjardins is not a federally chartered bank, the company has announced to its employees that it is adding September 30 to its list of statutory holidays in order to pause and take a step towards recognizing and remembering the prejudice suffered by Indigenous communities.
"I was thrilled to hear this news. I am very proud of my employer's commitment to diversity. For me, this is an extraordinary recognition of this important moment in history and the commitment to Desjardins workers from Indigenous communities," said Leslie Lavache, UFCW 500 union representative and Senior Steward at Desjardins Card Services.
Desjardins' initiative is part of a series of actions that are helping to trigger change in society and open up the discussion on how we can present ourselves as allies. Last June, the Desjardins flag was lowered in recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day. This is another example of the good work this company is doing to fulfill its social responsibility.
"There is a lot of diversity in the Desjardins Group workforce and UFCW encourages open and inclusive communication. As a steward, I have a responsibility to educate our members. That's why I send out a weekly email to our members to tell them about various items in their contract or to announce important events that are coming up. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will give me a great opportunity to speak about the reality of Indigenous people, to honour the victims and to celebrate the survivors. I will also take this opportunity to talk about the many actions UFCW Canada has taken to improve the living conditions of Indigenous people.I would also encourage union members to thank our members in these communities for their contribution to our rich and diverse history," concluded Leslie Lavache.