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Toronto – October 28, 2015 – Hundreds of UFCW Canada activists, community allies, and agriculture workers gathered in Toronto for the 15th Annual UFCW Canada - AWA Awards Dinner. The AWA Awards continue their longstanding commitment to recognizing the incredible contributions of individuals and organizations who advocate on behalf of agriculture workers and their rights.
The evening began with Ontario NDP leader MPP Andrea Horwath welcoming the guests and participants and thanking UFCW Canada and the AWA for their decades-long advocacy for the workplace and human rights of migrant agriculture workers in Canada.
UFCW Canada National President and AWA President Paul Meinema then shared with the gathering recent victories involving the rights of agriculture workers in Canada including UFCW Canada Local 1518's victory in the Blacklisting Case in British Columbia. Brother Meinema also acknowledged the achievement of the recent research report by UFCW Canada entitled, The Great Canadian Rip Off!, which provided a detailed economic argument to end the restricted access of employment insurance and parental benefits by migrant and temporary agriculture workers. The report has won national and international awards including a recent award at from the International Labour Communicators Association. Guests were also introduced to the 2015 National Report on the Status of Migrant Workers in Canada, which is also being distributed to every elected federal and provincial official in Canada.
The evening concluded with the 2015 Awards presentations to seven remarkable activists for their tremendous work and dedication on behalf of migrant and temporary agriculture workers in Canada.
The recipients of the 2015 UFCW Canada - AWA Awards include:
Michel Tardif – UFCW Canada Local 501, Quebec Agriculture Workers Coordinator
As the Quebec Agriculture Workers Coordinator for TUAC Canada Local 501, Michel has provided an unwavering commitment to negotiating contracts, mentoring staff, and upholding the workplace rights of the membership.
Phillipa Thomas – Health and Safety Activist and Advocate
A former Alberta farm worker who was injured on the job, Philippa now advocates for the inclusion of Alberta agriculture workers under the province's Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Health and Safety, and Workers Compensation acts.
Derek Fudge – Director of Public Policy and Development, National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)
A long-time advocate and defender of human and workers' rights, Derek has worked with UFCW Canada and the AWA as an ally and advisor on challenges before the International Labour Organization (ILO) to uphold the rights of agriculture workers in Canada.
Donna Cripps – Chief Executive Officer, Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)
As CEO of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network, Donna played a critical role in securing new funding to implement and expand migrant agricultural worker health services in the communities of Grand River and Niagara.
Coletta McGrath – Executive Director, Quest Community Health Centre
As the Executive Director of the Niagara Quest Community Health Centre, Coletta drives community development and health promotion in Ontario's Niagara region and oversees the Niagara Migrant Agricultural Workers Clinic.
Peter Szota – Executive Director, Grand River Community Health Centre
Peter Szota leads the Grand River Community Health Centre in providing model walk-in clinics in Norfolk County specifically for migrant agriculture workers through clinics in Simcoe and Delhi, Ontario.
Wayne Hanley – President, UFCW Canada Local 206
The former UFCW Canada National President and President of the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), Brother Hanley continues to support the fight for the human and labour rights of agriculture workers in Canada.