Better Communities, Better Lives
/ Author: Dennis Perrin
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Better Communities, Better Lives

The pandemic has forced us to take our communities online and find other creative ways to maintain contact. One of the best places to find community is in our workplaces

By Dennis Perrin, Prairies Director

The concept of community has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of many communities in my life. It starts with the community that I was raised in, and has since included communities in several other parts of Canada as well as other parts of the world.

Typically, when we think of community in this context, we are thinking of it as a geographical community—that is, the town, city, or hamlet that we reside in and thus consider our community. But the pandemic has forced us to rethink how we define our community. Depending on where we live, for months many of us have not been able to live in community in person. We’ve been forced to take our communities online and find other creative ways to maintain contact.

Technology has allowed us to maintain a sense of community in ways that we could not have imagined even 10 years ago. In some cases, I’ve been fortunate to communicate with friends and family in more depth than I have in years. Necessity really is the mother of invention.

Recently, I had the good fortune to visit a number of Local 63 members working on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project. The visit was a real treat as I was able to see first hand the construction of an amazing piece of infrastructure that moves critical energy to market, thus reducing our reliance on energy from other countries who do not hold the same social and environmental standards as we do in Canada.

What was even better was being able to interact with these individuals. I met members hailing from various parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. All of them come from specific geographic communities in Canada that they call home.

The thing that impressed me the most was how obvious it was that these members were a community unto themselves. They all proudly spoke of their home communities and the families they had to leave behind. But in place of that gap was an obvious community of coworkers.

These members work and do life together while on the job. Their camaraderie and support for each other was obvious. They maintained a great sense of humour while looking out for each other. It was a wonderful thing to observe as it embodies the type of community that we all want to belong to.

CLAC is committed to building better workplaces, better communities, and better lives. That commitment rang through my mind for days after that pipeline visit. These members are a workplace community that both challenges and supports each other. They are living into the very ideal that CLAC is committed to.

It made me fiercely proud of them—both in what they are building and the way in which they support each other in doing it. I was honoured to be allowed to see a glimpse of that, and it gives me hope for the work that CLAC has in front of it for many years to come.

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