August 31 2023
The origins of Labour Day stem from 1872, when rallies and marches were organized by the Toronto Trades Assembly to win the release of the 24 leaders from the Toronto Typographical Union who were imprisoned for striking while advocating for a nine-hour working day. It was the first demonstration for workers’ rights in Canada.
Since then, events on Labour Day are organized to celebrate workers, unions and the progress that we have made as part of the labour movement.
This year, the theme of Labour Day is Canada’s Unions: Lifting Everyone Up. Unions around the world have worked tirelessly to advance the rights of workers in every sector. Labour has always been on the frontline working to make sure our efforts don’t just benefit our members; we are there for everyone. Like when we fought for employment insurance, for affordable health care, and for higher wages — struggles which benefited everyone, not just unionized workers.
During the pandemic, union members worked hard in hospitals to ensure people were safe and cared for, in grocery stores to make sure people could feed their families, and in trucks carrying goods to where they were needed. We call them heroes.
Over the last few months, we’ve seen others who should be added to the list of heroes. Wildland firefighters across the country have faced more and more complicated fires. There are still 1,148 forest fires burning with 13.3 million hectares hectares — or 133,000 square kilometres burned to date. Some workers have lost their lives protecting homes, businesses, and the infrastructure, like water treatment plants, that we all rely on. We are thankful for those on the job who are working hard on our behalf.
All the while, we are seeing workers across the board rising up in opposition to abusive treatment, low wages, poor health and safety, and work-life balance. Workers are owning their power, leading the charge for a better life, and a healthy world. Solidarity has never been stronger.
So while there are challenges before us, and much more work to do, on this Labour Day weekend, we encourage you to find some time to relax and recharge.You deserve it!
Happy Labour Day!