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August 12, 2012

The Ontario Federation of Labour will be hosting an Equity Conference from November 9 to 11 under the theme: “We Are Ontario: Putting Equity Before Austerity.” The event will be opened up to members who belong to the OFL’s many equity-seeking constituencies. Community groups will also be invited to add their voices and experiences to the event.

Download a copy of the Equity Conference Agenda here.

CONFERENCE INFORMATION

Location: Embassy Suites Niagara Falls – Fallsview

6700 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls, L2G 3W6

Book your hotel rooms here, or call: 905-356-3600

Ask for the special rate for the “Ontario Federation of Labour”

Start: Friday, November 9 at 2:00 p.m.

Conference registration fee: $175.00

Child Care: Available on request

REGISTER NOW!

Download the full Conference Registration Package

Download the Child Care Request Form

Download the Personal Assistance Form

Download the Conference Agenda

For more information, contact: Janice Gairey, OFL Human Rights Director at jgairey@ofl.ca or 416-347-9732

DESCRIPTION OF LEARNING CIRCLES

1. Pulling Up the Ladder: Youth and the Struggle for an Equitable Future

Branding their re-engineering of the social safety net as “austerity,” baby boomer politicians at every level are championing a stunning double standard that plots to pull up the ladder in health care, post-secondary education, Employment Insurance and Old Age Security, just after their generation has taken full advantage of each. These social program cuts will have the most significant impact on the next generation of workers – today’s diverse students, from primary school through to university – and threaten to undermine the advancement of young people from equity-seeking groups. This workshop will look at the intersection of equity and youth as it gives voice to those who have the most to lose (or gain) from Ontario’s economic future.

2. White Privilege

In an increasingly diverse and multi racial society it is paramount that a discussion occurs about the form of racism called white privilege. The participants will have the opportunity to explore the issue of white privilege and the impact it has on all of us particularly around austerity issues. Privilege does not exist in a vacuum. We will respectfully explore the issue from many perspectives, including yours. Denial and resistance to its concept will be discussed. It will be a safe space where discomfort may occur but the willingness to share thoughts, ideas and feelings is critical because with discomfort comes learning.

3. Myths and Realities

For centuries, myths and stereotypes have been perpetuated by the mainstream about aboriginal peoples. This Circle will help create a space where mutual respect and understanding can unfold between Aboriginal and non- aboriginal people. Do we truly know and understand each others’ stories? How is austerity affecting the Aboriginal, Metis and Inuit communities. The Circle will help begin the building process of mutual respect by developing a collective plan to ensure a long standing healthy proactive relationship across our differences and similarities.

4. Women Bear the Brunt of Austerity

Extensive economic and policy changes are taking place in government services, which are affecting women as public sector workers, as benefit recipients and as service users. Corporations and governments, at all levels, are implementing harsh austerity programs as a attempt to balance profit and budget shortfalls by attacking over 30 years of equality gains. This Learning Circle will explore the impact of austerity and strategies for fight back.

5.  Safe and Healthy Workplaces: LGBTQ Workers and the Law

Bullying and harassment is a day to day experience for women, LGBTQ, and other equity seeking groups workers. After years of labour and community lobby and legal challenges Ontario workers has won significant gains under Ontario’s health & safety legislation. This Learning Circle will explore the gains we have won; how to use them and next steps needed to establish harassment free workplaces.

6. Mental Injury Tools for Ontario Workers

The psychosocial hazards that cause workplace stress are not new but they are more pronounced and are reaching epidemic proportions – exhausting workplace demands, workplace violence and harassment, job insecurity and funding and staffing shortfalls make work a constant worry for workers in every sector. Twelve labour groups have been working with Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) and researchers since 2009 to develop a resource kit to help Ontario workers to take action on workplace stress. This resource kit will be discussed and used in the workshop. It will provide the tools to identify and collect data to assist union representatives to push for positive changes for healthier, safer workplaces. Data can be used by unions to produce sector-specific supports and to inform broad labour action to push for legislative policy changes that will improve protections from psychosocial hazards.

COPE 343

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