May 25, 2020
The labour movement is devastated by the loss of Sister Megan Whitfield, who passed away suddenly on May 24. The OFL mourns with all who knew her.
Sister Whitfield was the first Black President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ (CUPW) Toronto Local, the largest local of CUPW. She played a key role at the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), where she was a core member of the Executive Board, Executive Committee and the Workers of Colour Committee. At the OFL Convention, she co-chaired the Convention Resolutions Committee.
“I am heartbroken, along with Megan’s labour family and all who knew her. Her work touched us all. Her dynamic leadership, wise counsel, dedicated activism, and solidarity with workers worldwide in the fight against oppression will not be forgotten,” said OFL President Patty Coates. “In our grief, the labour movement will continue the battle for equality and workers’ rights.”
She was also a long-time member and board member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists’ Canadian Chapter.
“Megan’s strong leadership on the Workers of Colour Committee and in the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists was instrumental in the work to end racial discrimination in Ontario and beyond,” said Ontario Federation of Labour Secretary-Treasurer Ahmad Gaied. “She was an inspiring leader who demanded and won change for all Workers of Colour throughout her career. I am honoured to have worked alongside her and to have had her as a friend. Today we mourn, and tomorrow we continue her work.”
“This is a loss that will be deeply felt in the labour movement and beyond. Megan was a leader who did not shy away from the challenges of building solidarity across difference. The workers’ struggle was her struggle, and Whitfield’s leadership was instrumental in strengthening our movement,” said OFL Executive Vice-President Janice Folk-Dawson. “May she rest in power, and may we carry her spirit forward.”