National President Meinema discusses building back better with Prime Minister, cabinet ministers

Ottawa – December 17, 2020 – UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal cabinet ministers this week in a series of calls and virtual meetings about the latest impacts of COVID-19 on UFCW Canada members and the need to build back better.

“Throughout the pandemic, UFCW Canada has been actively calling on government to put the health and safety of frontline members at the centre of public supports for employers, and to make sure that labour has a priority seat at the table for any discussion about rebuilding the post-COVID economy,” says President Meinema. “We are also using every opportunity to assert our position that frontline workers need frontline protections, and that the crucial contributions that UFCW Canada members make towards meeting the day-to-day needs of Canadians must be reflected in future vaccine rollouts.”

Prime Minister Trudeau thanked UFCW Canada members across the country for their outstanding efforts throughout the pandemic and acknowledged the need for UFCW to have a meaningful voice in conversations about building back better. President Meinema and the Prime Minister also talked about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and the union’s position that reform is urgently needed to better protect migrant food workers. The conversation with the Prime Minister followed a more detailed exchange about TFWP reform with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, a few days prior.  

President Meinema also led a productive meeting with Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau this week focused on pandemic challenges faced by UFCW Canada members in the meatpacking, food processing, and food manufacturing sectors. While progress has been made on many of the union’s health and safety protocols, line speeds continue to run at rates that make physical distancing especially difficult, and the union continues to advocate on this issue.   

To help support UFCW Canada’s advocacy efforts for frontline members, please endorse and share the Pay it Forward: Show Your Support for Frontline Workers! campaign.