Sisters and Brothers,
Today, we come together to celebrate the place we call home.
This year’s Canada Day celebrations will take a particular turn given the pandemic. We are not yet out of the woods. While provinces are reopening, we must all avoid large gatherings and continue to be vigilant.
Faced with the COVID-19 threat, Canadians chose to focus on the greater good. We followed public health instructions, looked out for each other, and managed to flatten the curve for now.
I am especially proud of how essential workers kept our country moving during these difficult times. We owe a debt of gratitude to front-line health-care workers, grocery workers, truck drivers, workers in the rail industry, couriers, airport workers and everyone else who continued to work during the lockdown.
Not everyone was treated equally during this crisis. Some workers – like orderlies and personal support workers in long-term care centres – were exposed to exceptional risk. Others were given “hero pay” only to see it taken away the moment things got a bit better. Some continue to face joblessness or substantially reduced hours; after all, this crisis is far from over.
Make no mistake, we still have a lot of work to do to build up a fairer, better country. From pharmacare to paid sick days to stronger labour laws, the labour movement has much to do to make Canada even greater for workers.
But for now, let us celebrate how far we have come, and all we have accomplished.
Happy Canada Day!
In celebration and solidarity,
President of Teamsters Canada