Many of us were around to witness how the world changed after September 2001. This year marked the 20thAnniversary of the tragic events that left an undeniable impact on our lives. The same can be said about the pandemic that began in March of 2020. Covid-19 has forced us all, on a global level, to take the health crisis seriously as society is forced to make long-term changes in our perspectives and processes.
Although twenty years apart, these two events have proven that the world you and I grew up in, has been scarred forever. We are entering an era of health, environmental, as well as social crises.
In Canada, however, we face our challenges head-on. The floods and forest fires in British Colombia put our infrastructure to the test and showed how our emergency response teams – many of whom are our members – were both resilient and resourceful as they courageously did their jobs.
I want to personally thank all those who worked on repairing essential infrastructure like roads, bridges and railroad tracks, for their hard work and for protecting the well-being of our communities.
Teamsters Canada, the Joint Councils and locals also contributed over $200,000 ear-marked to aid directly in the efforts against the disaster in BC though the Canadian Red Cross. This gesture was a necessary one as the situation grew critical in various regions of the province.
In 2021, just like every year, your union was very active on all fronts. Supported by our team of lobbyists on government affairs, we strategically increased our meetings with ministers and government officials. I believe making your voice heard in Ottawa and in every provincial capital is crucial to communicating your realities and moving our issues forward at every level of government.
Teamsters Canada and our locals continue to demand national standards to improve working conditions and quality care in long term care facilities. I know that to improve the health, safety and well-being of our elderly, as well as retain workers, a change in direction is required in this sector.
On another front, we are in negotiations on behalf of our members who work for Purolator. I’m here to tell you that the contribution that drivers and workers in the courier industry and our other members who make our country’s supply chain work must be recognized. Our members are essential workers and essential to the Canadian economy.
As for the Amazon campaign, we are committed to defending the rights of these workers. Our slogan says it all: “You are not alone”.
Once again, mental health was at the heart of many of our actions. More than ever, we know that solidarity means empowering our most vulnerable in society. No one must be left behind, especially now while we are experiencing a labour shortage, it’s time to make room for everyone in the workplace.
The coming year will be one of the busiest since I became president of this great organization. My team (including the principal officers and local staff) have our work cut out for us. I am grateful for their professionalism, and for their dedication to you, our members. Please accept my most heartfelt wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. May the next twelve months bring each and every one of you good health, happiness, prosperity and endless moments of joyous memories to come.
President of Teamsters Canada
Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters