It has been an incredibly active year for the Good Jobs for All Coalition since November 2008 when we had the Good Jobs for All for a Greater Toronto Summit in Toronto. We have grown to 41 members, with the Jane-Finch Green Anti-Poverty Coalition and Council of Canadians being our newest members. Through the work of our Empowering Workers, Green Economy for All and Investing in Social Infrastructure working groups, we have initiated the Fix EI Campaign, organized a conference on Good Green Jobs for All, and supported coalition members’ work on Child Care, Employment Equity, Temp Agencies, Temporary Foreign Workers.
Good Green Jobs for All
The November 7th Good Green Jobs for All Conference was an amazing success. It brought together over 600 union members, community activists, environmentalists, youth and elected representatives to address key issues for the future economy of greater Toronto, and to build a green movement for all with good jobs, equity and social justice, and environmental sustainability. The overwhelming response resulted in one hundred more participants than the organizers planned for, and registration needing to be cut off two days before the event. It was a standing room only crowd in the plenary room.
Keynotes speakers were Clayton Thomas-Muller, an Aboriginal environmental activist, Tonika Morgan, a member of the Medina Collective and a young community movement builder, and Peter Tabuns, former Executive Director of Greenpeace and currently MPP for Toronto Riverdale.
The Good Jobs for All (GJFA) Coalition is extremely happy with the conference, the diversity of participants and the dialogue which took place in the workshops. We have developed a Framework for Action out of the recommendations from the workshops, which will help to guide our work for the next couple of years. Please go to http://goodjobsforall.ca for video clips, articles and more from conference. Get involved through our website.
Fix Employment Insurance
The GJFA Coalition’s is continuing work on the Fix EI Campaign, launched at the start of 2009. Throughout this year we have organized community town halls, signing of petitions, rallies and a forum on September 21st. We have also met with organizers in Quebec to join forces between our provinces to build and strengthen the call for EI reform. We are continuing our mobilizing and campaign efforts to call for:
360 hours to qualify for EI benefits in all regions of Canada
Increase benefit duration to at least 50 weeks in all regions, and
Provide an additional year of “Special Extension” benefits if national unemployment exceeds 6.5%
Extend EI Part 1 benefits while a worker is in approved training.
Increase benefits to at least 60% of normal earnings, using workers’ 12 best weeks, and raise the maximum. Suspend the allocation of severance pay. Eliminate the 2 week waiting period.
Temporary Foreign Workers
The GJFA Coalition joined with the Coalition for Change for Caregivers and Temporary Foreign Workers and community, women’s, immigrant rights, faith-based and trade union organizations strongly opposing the proposed changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program which will entrench a disposable workforce with few rights. We call on the government to scrap these proposed amendments and move to ensure real protection and justice for migrant workers. Go to http://workersactioncentre.org for more information and to take action.
Employment Equity was one of the themes at the November 2008 Summit. It has also been identified at the recent Good Green Jobs for All conference as part of the solution. It underscores the importance of the notion “FOR ALL”, and will be an issue focused on in 2010.
The GJFA Coalition is also supporting the work of member organizations currently working on this issue – Colour of Poverty http://cop.openconcept.ca, Council of Agencies Serving South Asians http://cassaonline.com, and Urban Alliance on Race Relations http://urbanalliance.ca.
The GJFA Coalition responded to the report from Charles Pascal, Special Advisor on Early Learning, titled, “With Our Best Future in Mind: Implementing Full Day Learning in Ontario”, supporting the overall direction to implement a universal full day early learning program in Ontario. Visit http://www.childcareontario.org for more information.
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Call Judy Persad at 416.441.3663 x 224
Look out for another Good Jobs for All newsletter in early 2010 with details on the new and ongoing campaigns of the GJFA Coalition.
There is tremendous goodwill and momentum for the GJFA Coalition. Let’s continue working together. Be a part of the movement. Let our voices be heard.
Tam Goossen & Winnie Ng
Co-Chairs, Good Jobs for All Coalition
Judy Vashti Persad
Coordinator, Good Jobs for All Coalition