Departments & Committees | The Ontario Federation of Labour

& Committees

Executive Board members chair the various OFL standing committees which coordinate the labour movement’s work with respect to ongoing policy concerns and equity issues. In addition, special committees can be established to deal with particular issues as they arise.


The OFL Communications Department carries labour’s messages to Federation members and the general public. Media relations, web site updates, speeches, and campaign publicity are among its ongoing responsibilities. Keep up to date on the work of the OFL by signing up for updates.

Melissa Palermo, Director of Communications
416-894-3456 |


The OFL Education Department helps develop and present a workers’ viewpoint on public education. It lobbies governments, liaises with teacher federations, works with school boards, parent associations and apprenticeship and training issues. It also organizes conferences on education and training for the labour movement, runs a speakers’ bureau that provides trade union speakers to schools and publicly promotes labour’s vision of good education and training. It helps develop educational materials on public policy issues and acts as the liaison between the Federation and the arts community.

Thevaki Thevaratnam, Director of Research and Education

Human Rights

The department’s main focus is to address human rights issues, anti-racism and equity initiatives provincially, federally and internationally from a labour and community perspective. It monitors and responds to actions and outcomes from the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Tribunal. It provides assistance to workers of colour and First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples experiencing racism and sexism in the workplace. By working collectively with community groups and unions, the department acts as a resource to affiliates and community groups in an advisory capacity around equity issues such as employment equity. It develops and circulates generic educational materials and resources on human rights and related workplace issues.

Yolanda B’Dacy, Director of Human Rights

Women’s Rights

The department educates trade unionists about women’s rights. It works with the Federation’s committees to develop educational material and policy papers, conducts outreach with community groups and lobbies for legislative rights. The department conducts workshops on pay equity and employment equity, child care, anti-harassment, anti-violence, basic human rights, combating homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism, and cissexism, and bargaining for equality. 

Chandra-Li Paul, Director of Women’s Rights

Government Relations

The government relations department monitors the activities of the provincial government and keeps affiliates up-to-date on legislation of particular interest to workers and unions that is being introduced and debated at Queen’s Park.

Rob Halpin, Executive Director

Occupational Health & Safety

The department provides assistance and expertise to unions affiliated to the OFL on legislative and workplace issues involving health and safety. It offers conferences to provide political and technical education on issues that affect workers. The department makes representations to and lobbies the Ontario government for adequate legislation and enforcement. It coordinates the OFL’s response to occupational health and safety issues as they arise. The Director also handles the Federation’s Energy & Environment Committee.

Natasha Luckhardt, Director of Health, Safety and Environment
647-881-8482 |

Worker’s Compensation

The department monitors matters and issues relative to worker’s compensation in Ontario and is the staff person assigned to support the Workers’ Compensation Committee. The Worker’s Compensation Committee provides information sessions, conferences, and political action for injured workers.

Political Action and Outreach

On the political action front, the department services the Political Action Committee, organizes political action and outreach among affiliates, and develops election and campaign skills training schools and workshops throughout the year across the province.

The department is also responsible for developing and implementing OFL campaigns, organizing protests, demonstrations and lobbies, working with community activists across the province to highlight workplace and social issues and help initiate political action.

James Clark, Political Action and Outreach Director
416-795-5863 |


The Federation’s Research Department works on a number of issues central to which is industrial relations policy. Research is conducted and written submissions presented on important changes to the Ontario Labour Relations Act, the Employment Standards Act and developments concerning the Labour Board and union organizing are followed and profiled in conferences, meetings and other forums.

The Research Department also gathers economic arguments for OFL policy positions, makes written submission in pre-budget hearings and works with the Ontario Alternative Budget initiative on critically assessing Government’s budgets and their implications for working people in Ontario.

Research is also conducted on proposed amendments to pension legislation and changes in pension policies. Written submissions are made as part of the OFL’s efforts to ensure plan members rights are protected.

Thevaki Thevaratnam, Director of Research and Education


The OFL’s many standing committees address issues and campaigns relevant to different sectors and constituencies. Committees are comprised of OFL affiliates and chaired by Executive Board members.

Committees deal with a wide range of issues of concern to working people. They help to undertake the work assigned by the OFL membership at bi-annual conventions and they make recommendations to the OFL Executive Board on policy and action.

To get involved or for more information on OFL Committees, contact the OFL staff person assigned to the committee in question.

Here is a list of the OFL Standing Committees: