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Toronto – November 3, 2016 – Hundreds of UFCW Canada activists, community allies, and agriculture workers from across the country recently gathered in Toronto for the 16th Annual UFCW Canada - AWA Awards Dinner. The UFCW Canada - AWA Awards recognize the incredible contributions of individuals and organizations who advocate on behalf of agriculture workers and their rights.
"Tonight we have gathered to acknowledge the outstanding work of four individuals whose leadership and personal contribution to agriculture workers’ rights is deserving of our recognition," said UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. "These individuals have risen to the challenge to secure basic rights and dignity for workers who have been historically excluded and forgotten."
For more than two decades, UFCW Canada has been the country’s leading advocate and ally in the campaign to bring full workplace, health and safety, and labour rights to domestic and migrant agriculture workers.
The recipients of the 2016 UFCW Canada - AWA Awards include:
Randy Richmond, Reporter at The London Free Press
Randy Richmond has been a journalist and reporter for The London Free Press for the past eighteen years. In addition to general reporting, Randy specializes in journalism about marginalized people. Over the past two decades, he has reported extensively on the challenges facing migrant and domestic agriculture workers in Ontario – impacting public awareness as well as public policy.
Carole Neault, Unionized Farm Worker and TUAC Local 501 Steward
For the past seven years, Carole Neault has been the union steward at the Savoura greenhouse in Saint-Étienne, Quebec. As a union member and worker, Carole has a long track record of advocating for workers’ rights. Even prior to holding her position as steward, she was actively engaged in her community. Her contribution is invaluable, especially for migrant workers who face a language barrier that isolates them and makes them more vulnerable to mistreatment.
Josie Baker, Community Activist and Educator at the Cooper Institute, P.E.I.
Josie Baker is a long-time migrant worker rights activist and community educator with the non-profit Cooper Institute in Prince Edward Island. Her research, public education, and advocacy work is devoted to migrant workers in P.E.I., and has helped bring the issues and voices of these workers to the attention of policy makers.
Premier Rachel Notley, Alberta
Premier Rachel Notley leads Alberta's first NDP government, and was sworn in as the province’s 17th Premier on May 24, 2015. In December 2015, the Notley government passed Bill 6, which extends occupational health and safety, employment standards, and workers compensation coverage to Alberta agriculture workers. The bill has set a course for Alberta farm workers to unionize and bargain collectively for the first time in the province’s history.
"All of this year’s recipients have advanced the cause through their commitment and positive actions to improve the lives of agriculture workers in Canada," Brother Meinema told the gathering. "So we acknowledge four remarkable individuals, while we also renew our commitment to work together to secure the rights for agriculture workers that other workers have had for decades."