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September 9, 2019

Download the call for nominations

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is seeking nominations from affiliates, local unions and labour councils for the upcoming OFL 15thBiennial Convention Awards:  Bob Borch Human Rights Award, Cliff Pilkey Labour Activist Award, Olivia Chow Child Care Champion Award, OFL Cultural Award, Linda Jolley Lifetime Achievement Award for Health and Safety, OFL Young Workers Award, OFL Labour Council Builder Award, and the Prevention Link’s Disability Prevention Activist Award.  

The OFL encourages affiliates, local unions and labour councils to remember equity seeking nominees from the racialized, 2SLGBTQI+, Aboriginal and disabilities groups in their selection of potential nominees.

The nomination form and/or attachments should explain why the nominee is eligible based on the criteria below.  Please include all of the nominee’s contact information.  All nominations must be made in writing and received at the Ontario Federation of Labour by October 15, 2019.

Bob Borch Human Rights Award

BackgroundIn December of 2000, Bob Borch, CUPW National Director received the OFL Human Rights Award.  Bob Borch served his union for nearly 30 years starting as a temporary worker and moved up the ranks until he became the National Director. As OFL Executive Board member, Bob co-chaired the OFL Human Rights Committee with Tim Brown, OFL VP representing Aboriginal Peoples for several years pushing the equity and human rights agenda to the forefront of all labour actions and activities.  On his passing, in 2002, the OFL Executive Board and Human Rights Committee recommended and approved that the OFL name the Biennial Convention Human Rights Award the Bob Borch Human Rights Award to honour this amazing trade union activist and champion of human rights.

Eligibility Criteria:  The selection of an individual or group recipient of the Human Rights Award is based on exceptional achievement and union/community activism that incorporated and promoted human rights and equality for all Ontarians.

Actions/activities that could be considered criteria for the award are achievements, efforts, mobilization, organizing campaigns, notable leadership and years of service. The nominee should have promoted human rights and equality with respect to the grounds outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code(race, colour, religion, national origin, place of origin, ancestry, age, physical and mental disability, marital status, social condition, political belief or activity, sexual orientation or gender identity).  

Please describe the nominee’s achievements, efforts or leadership and how their human rights activism has positively impacted the labour movement and/or their community allies.

Selection:  The OFL Human Rights Committee will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the Officers and the Executive Board.

For more information on the Bob Borch Human Rights Award, please contact Carrol Anne Sceviour at 416.443.7670 or csceviour@ofl.ca.

Cliff Pilkey Labour Activist Award

This award will recognize the outstanding contributions of a worker, or retiree, who has made a significant impact on the labour movement and community. The nomination is open to local, provincial and national leaders as well as individual members. 

Background:  Clifford George (Cliff) Pilkey was a life-long trade union activist and best known for his tenure as the third President of the Ontario Federation of Labour.  Under Cliff’s leadership at the OFL, Ontario workers made many incredible legislative advancements, including equal pay for work of equal value, dues check-off, expedited arbitration and a ban on professional strike-breaking.   The OFL also obtained government funding for the Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) and Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) under Cliff’s leadership.

In several workplaces that were dominated primarily by women, like Radio Shack in Barrie and Fleck In London, Cliff turned strikes into province-wide mobilizations that led to pressure for First Contract arbitration, which was later won through legislation. In 1978, when a private American equity firm bought up and promptly closed Houdaille plant in Oshawa, Cliff supported a worker-led takeover of the plant that spread similar takeovers at Windsor Bumper and Beach Foundry. He used his influence with the Bill Davis government to bring in plant closure legislation to ensure that workers received notice, severance, and pension protection.

Throughout his career as a trade unionist and politician, Cliff was a courageous champion of women’s and human rights, whose contributions to workers’ rights, social equity and workplace health and safety have left a legacy that will be felt for generations.  Cliff began his trade union activism as an Oshawa autoworker and later led the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 222 (now Unifor Local 222).  By 1957, he was the President of the Canadian UAW Council, while also serving as President of the Oshawa and District Labour Council for a decade.  He entered electoral politics in 1962 as an Oshawa Alderman until he was elected to the Ontario legislature for one term as the MPP for Oshawa and Ontario New Democratic Party Labour Critic, from 1967 to 1971.

Eligibility CriteriaKnow someone who you think deserves recognition for work done as a labour activist?  Is there someone who has continued to work in the spirit of the movement even into retirement or who has been involved in the cause of workers and strengthening communities for many years?  The nominee should have made a significant contribution to the advancement of working people in Ontario.  

Please describe the nominee’s achievements, efforts, leadership and how their activism has positively impacted the labour movement and promoted social justice.

Making a Nomination:  If you know a labour activist you believe meets or exceeds the criteria listed above, you are encouraged to send, in writing, your nomination to the OFL office no later thanOctober 15, 2019. 

Selection:  The OFL officers will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the Executive Board

For more information on the OFL Cliff Pilkey Labour Activist Award, please contact Rob Halpin at 416.443.7684 or rhalpin@ofl.ca.

Olivia Chow Child Care Champion Award

Background:  The Olivia Chow Child Care Champion Award was established at the OFL 2011 Convention. The first recipient was Olivia Chow in recognition for her leadership on child care both in her earlier role as Toronto City Councillor and as a Member of Parliament (MP).  Sister Chow’s Early Learning and Child Care Bill laid the legislative foundation for a universal, high-quality, affordable and non-profit national child care program.

Eligibility Criteria:  The selection of an individual or group recipient of the Olivia Chow Child Care Champion Award is based on exceptional achievement and union/community activism that incorporated and promoted child care for all Ontarians.

Actions/activities that could be considered criteria for the Award are achievements, efforts, mobilization, organizing campaigns, notable leadership and years of service.  The nominee should have made a significant contribution to the advancement of child care.   

Please describe the nominee’s achievements, efforts or leadership and how their child care activism has positively impacted for better child care services that benefits Ontario’s workers and their families. 

Selection:  Members of the OFL Women’s Committee will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the Officers and the Executive Board.

For more information on the OFL Olivia Chow Child Champion Care Award, please contact Carrol Anne Sceviour at 416. 443.7670 or csceviour@ofl.ca.

OFL Cultural Award

Background:  One of the recommendations of the OFL’s Cultural Policy document passed at the 1993 Convention was that a Cultural Award be given at its Biennial Convention to an Ontario Artist whose work advances the cause of working people.

Over the past number of years, the labour movement has helped to establish a number of labour arts programs including theMayworks Festival, the OFL Banner Competition, the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, the Artists and the Community/Workplace Program,as well as the many projects undertaken by various affiliated unions.  This has created a wealth of work that portrays and celebrates working people. The Cultural Award was established to acknowledge this work and recognize those who created it.

There are many awards given in the various arts and cultural fields – from the Genies and Juno’s to the Toronto Arts Awards and the Governor General’s Awards.  While many of these are well-deserved, few of them award the contribution many artists make to particular communities, their concerns for social issues or a commitment to expressing the realities of everyday life.

The OFL Cultural Award is presented to an artist who has made a unique and important contribution to the culture of the trade union movement or who, through their work, has advanced the concerns of working people and social justice.

The OFL Cultural Award was inaugurated at the 1995 OFL Convention from a recommendation contained in the OFL’s Cultural Policy of 1993.  The award was established to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to the development of the arts in the labour movement or whose work has advanced the cause of working people.  The following are guidelines for the award:

Eligibility Criteria:(Please note that any one or more of the following criteria are acceptable).

  • A person whose cultural work has advanced the cause of labour or has uniquely expressed the life of working people.
  • A person who has made a significant contribution to the development of the arts in the labour movement.
  • A union member who has created or utilized the arts in a unique or effective way to advance the cause of labour.
  • A person whose cultural work has made a major contribution to the advancement of social justice in Ontario.

Selection:  Mayworks will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the Officers and the Executive Board.

For more information on the OFL Cultural Award, please contact Laurie Hardwick at 416.443.7657 or lhardwick@ofl.ca.

Linda Jolley Lifetime Achievement Award for Health and Safety

Background:  The Linda Jolley Lifetime Achievement Award for Health and Safety was created for the 2013 OFL Convention following the death of Linda Jolley. The first recipient was Linda Jolley (awarded posthumously).  As Research Director for the Ontario NDP in the 1970s, she brought to light the hazards Ontario workers faced through exposure to asbestos, radon gas and other hazards.  Her activism made a significant contribution to forcing the government of the day to create Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. At the Ontario Federation of Labour, she helped to establish the OFL Health and Safety Training Project which evolved into the Workers Health and Safety Centre, a province-wide program of worker education in occupational health and safety.  She went on to serve as the Director of Occupational Health and Safety for the OFL, and subsequently became a Vice-President of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.  Linda spent a lifetime working to improve the working conditions for workers across Ontario.

Eligibility Criteria:  The selection of an individual recipient of the Linda Jolley Lifetime Achievement Award for Health and Safety is based on a lifetime of work to improvingthe lives and working conditions for Ontario workers.

Actions/activities that could be considered are specific achievements, efforts, mobilizing, leadership,and/oryears of service.  The nominee should have made a significant contribution to the advancement of occupational health and safety for workers.

When submitting a nomination please describe the nominee’s achievements, efforts, leadership, years of service, etc., and how their activism has made a positive impact on the lives andworking conditions for workers in Ontario.

Selection:  Members of the OFL Health and Safety Committee will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the OFLOfficers and the Executive Board.

For more information on the Linda Jolley Lifetime Achievement Award for Health and Safety, please contact Vern Edwards at 416.443.7662 or vedwards@ofl.ca.

OFL Young Workers’ Award

Background: The OFL Young Workers’ Award goes to a young worker or youth activist who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in mobilizing and empowering young workers or youth activists to create change in their workplaces or their communities.

Eligibility Criteria:  The selection of an individual or group recipient of the Young Workers’ Award is based on exceptional achievement and union/community activism that incorporated and promoted the rights and empowerment of the next generation of workers.

Actions/activities that could be considered criteria for the award are achievements, efforts, mobilization, organizing campaigns, notable leadership and years of service.  The nominee should have promoted youth activism, young worker involvement or defended the rights of the next generation of workers.

Please describe the nominee’s achievements, efforts or leadership and how their young worker activism has positively impacted the labour movement and/or their community allies.

Selection:  Members of the OFL Young Workers’ Committee will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the Officers and the Executive Board.

For more information on the OFL Young Workers’ Award, please contact Chandra-Li Paul at 416.443.7687 or cpaul@ofl.ca.

Labour Council Builder Award

Background: The Labour Council Builder Award was established at OFL Convention 2017 and is to be presented for the first time at the OFL Convention 2019 in honour of the late Jim Freeman, former President of the Durham Region Labour Council. Brother Freeman was a tremendous builder of worker and community engagement. He was pivotal in providing support and encouragement for many Labour Councils throughout Canada. Jim Freeman was a constant ally and promoter of young workers and union renewal, he believed in fostering a strong future of labour activism and worked tirelessly on issues and campaigns of importance to Labour Councils, the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress. 

Eligibility Criteria:  The Labour Council Builder Award recognizes outstanding effort, and is bestowed upon an individual who, like Jim Freeman, embodies the spirit, ideals and goals of building strong Labour Councils in Ontario. Labour Councils are the lifeblood of the labour movement and are instrumental in building grass roots activism in communities across Ontario. The important work of Labour Councils is critical to the success of the campaigns, goals and ideals of the Federation and the Congress. 

Actions/activities that may be considered criteria for the award are extraordinary mobilization, campaign organizing and community building efforts that further the work of Labour Councils and may include notable leadership and recognition of years of service. 

In the nomination form, please describe the nominee’s achievements, efforts or leadership, as well as describing how their activism has had a positive effect on the work of Labour Councils in building the labour movement and increasing the profile of Labour Councils in their respective communities.

Selection:  A select committee of members of OFL Executive Council will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the Officers and the Executive Board.

For more information on the Labour Council Builder Award, please contact Chandra-Li Paul at 416.443.7687 or cpaul@ofl.ca.

Prevention Link’s Disability Prevention Activist Award

Background: Prevention Link’s Disability Prevention Activist Award goes to a workers compensation activist who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and perseverance in advancing disability prevention or accommodation issues in the community and/or workplace. Also, how this person has educated or increased awareness to others and or any workers compensation or disability rights contribution experience.

Eligibility Criteria:  The selection of an individual recipient of the Prevention Link’s Disability Activist Award is based on exceptional achievement and union/community activism in workers compensation or secondary prevention issues.

Actions/activities that could be considered criteria for the award are achievements, efforts, education and perseverance to the issue, notable leadership and years of service.  The nominee should have promoted accommodation or access to compensation issues, educated or increased awareness to others and fought for access to benefits / injured workers rights.

Please describe the nominee’s achievements, efforts or leadership and how their disability prevention activism has positively impacted the labour movement and their community allies. (injured workers, vulnerable workers).

Selection:  Members of the OFL WCB Committee will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the Officers and the Executive Board.

For more information on the Prevention Link’s Disability Prevention Activist Award,please contact Laurie Hardwick at 416.443.7657 or lhardwick@preventionlink.ca.

Download the call for nominations

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