Be It Resolved
/ Author: CLAC Staff
/ Categories: Guide magazine /
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Be It Resolved

At every convention, delegates discuss and vote on a number of resolutions on issues of importance to members. Do resolutions make a difference?

The CLAC National Convention has the ultimate responsibility for CLAC’s overall activity and for ensuring that CLAC’s conduct is in harmony with its constitution. Conventions are held every three years and are comprised of delegates from the union’s locals, National Board, and staff.

Along with electing members to the National Board and reviewing various proposals, reports from the locals, and financial statements, delegates to the convention also review resolutions submitted for discussion and adoption. Resolutions that are adopted by the convention represent CLAC’s formal expression of opinion or intention on an issue. They are often addressed to governments and usually urge a particular course of action for the government to take. Do they make a difference? Sometimes.

At CLAC’s last National Convention in 2014, five resolutions were adopted, and some have made a real difference. For example, one resolution urged the Ontario government to pass legislation restricting the release of nonconviction information from police background checks to employers and volunteer organizations. It’s an issue of importance particularly to members working in healthcare, where background checks are a routine part of hiring. Complaints without merit can end up on a person’s record and become a barrier to future employment and/or volunteer pursuits.

Removing this barrier was a key concern of members, and much work went into bringing this issue to the attention of the Ontario government. CLAC reps met with many individual MPPs who weren’t even aware of the issue, and made appearances before the government’s Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

Along with others who pressed the government, having a formal resolution adopted by a 60,000-plus member union added significant weight to the issue, and put pressure on the government to take action. In 2015, the Ontario government passed legislation restricting the release of nonconviction information from police background checks.

But sometimes a resolution is not acted on. Such as in BC regarding CLAC’s resolution adopted at the 2014 convention urging the provincial government to set standards of maintenance for road service contracts. The lack of standards endangers the lives of motorists, including over 1,200 Local 66 members who earn their living as professional truck or bus drivers and who daily drive on highways with unacceptably low standards of maintenance. As was reported at this year’s convention, to date, the BC government has not taken any action. But CLAC reps continue to push the issue with government, and the resolution is ongoing.

At this year’s convention, nine resolutions were submitted for discussion and consideration. Here are the resolutions (edited and abbreviated) adopted by delegates to the CLAC National Convention, held in Kitchener, Ontario, on October 26-27, 2017.

1. Concerning THE CREATION OF CANADA WORKS

With each passing year, it becomes increasingly clear that the progressive labour movement is the only viable future for unionism in Canada. Where CLAC once stood alone, today, an increasing number of forward-thinking unions—both new and old—have adopted its approach.

The growing progressive labour movement needs a common and united voice to strengthen and amplify its message—a message that all Canadians need to hear and that all lawmakers across the country need to understand. The opportunity is here and now for CLAC to create this united voice by establishing a council of progressive labour unions in Canada called Canada Works.

IT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THIS CONVENTION that CLAC establish a new council of progressive labour unions in Canada called Canada Works, develop its founding principles and core message, and lead its direction and operation.

2. Concerning WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH COMMITTEE VARIANCES IN SCHOOLS

Manitoba’s workplace safety and health legislation currently allows for one workplace safety and health committee for multiple workplaces. All workers in Manitoba have the right to refuse unsafe work, but those who do not have their own separate workplace safety and health committee at their workplace are often not aware of their rights and the procedures for refusing unsafe work, and as such are at greater risk.

CLAC represents approximately 500 support staff in the Hanover and Garden Valley school divisions including over 360 educational assistants. Both school divisions have received approval to have one single workplace safety and health committee.

IT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THIS CONVENTION that CLAC petition the Manitoba government to develop policies requiring the yearly training of all workers in workplaces with one workplace safety and health committee for multiple workplaces regarding their right to refuse unsafe work and the proper procedures for doing so.

3. Concerning FUNDING OF SUPPORT SERVICES FOR ADULTS LIVING WITH AN INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY

Local 306 represents members employed at vocational and activity-based daytime support services supporting Manitobans with disabilities. It is a moral imperative that our society provide safe, person-centred care that honours the dignity of all people who are disabled.

Low wages in this sector result in high employee turnover, which adds unnecessary costs and the routine loss of skills in providing care. Additionally, the government has failed to maintain investment in the training necessary to ensure staff are able to provide expert, relevant, and safe care to these vulnerable people in our society.

IT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THIS CONVENTION that CLAC calls on the Manitoba government to increase funding to improve wage rates for vocational and activity-based daytime support workers, and to increase the level of funding dedicated to worker training. We call on the government to provide CLAC with a written response to this petition.

4. Concerning FUNDING OF DISABILITY SERVICES

Local 301 represents members employed at group homes supporting Albertans with disabilities. As a province, we must act to ensure that the funding required is allocated to provide safe, person-centred care for the most vulnerable in our society so that employees can be compensated well, beyond the level of the minimum wage, and so that the sector can attract and retain the skilled workforce necessary to provide this care.

IT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THIS CONVENTION that CLAC petition the Alberta government to provide increased funding to persons with developmental disabilities service providers for direct client care, and that the government provide CLAC with a written response to this petition.

5. Concerning URGENT NEED TO INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY OF DOCUMENTATION IN LONG TERM CARE AND THE EQUAL NEED TO INCREASE FUNDING

The resources available for RNs, RPNs, and personal support workers to provide dignified care to Ontario seniors have not kept pace with the demands of their jobs and the increasing needs of their residents.

Additional improvements in both the quality of care and its efficiency can also be gained by improving regulations surrounding the extensive documentation performed by front-line staff. Eliminating redundant documentation and requiring homes to use more efficient documentation systems can increase the consistency of documentation while also allowing staff more time to provide primary care.

IT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THIS CONVENTION that CLAC call on the Ontario government to

  • Eliminate redundant documentation so front-line staff in long term care homes can spend more time caring for vulnerable residents with dignity.
  • Take concrete steps to increase the funding in long term care to meet or surpass the Canadian average, including but not limited to reducing unnecessary bureaucracy.

6. Concerning RETIREMENT HOME WORKERS AND WSIA

Retirement homes in Ontario are permitted to opt out of providing Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) coverage and to choose to privately insure their employees for workplace accidents and illnesses.

The role of retirement homes has changed, putting workers at much greater risk of illness or injury. The vast majority of healthcare facilities are mandatorily covered under WSIA, but retirement homes are the only exception. This leaves employees with differential coverage that is not reflective of their actual work or income and leaves them completely on their own to handle disputes with insurance companies. Their only recourse is costly civil litigation.

IT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THIS CONVENTION that CLAC petition the Ontario government to place the retirement home industry under Schedule 1 of the Workers Safety and Insurance Act. Further, CLAC urges the swift passage of Bill 145, Coverage for Workers in Residential Care Facilities and Group Homes Act, 2017, which gives employees working in retirement homes the same rights and privileges that others working in the healthcare sector enjoy.

7. Concerning RECOGNITION OF INDUSTRIAL SCAFFOLDING AS A DESIGNATED TRADE

Local 63 represents over 2,000 scaffolders from across Alberta. Safe scaffold erection is of paramount importance to the safety of our members and to all people who build scaffolds and use scaffolding to perform their trade or work in the vicinity of scaffolding.

Despite this, industrial scaffolding in Alberta is not recognized as a trade or a designated occupation. As such, it does not have a government-recognized apprenticeship program or industry-set training standards to ensure the integrity of the scaffolding trade.

IT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THIS CONVENTION that CLAC petition the appropriate government bodies to

  • Recognize industrial scaffolding as a designated trade.
  • Adopt legislated criteria to ensure that the integrity of the scaffolding trade is maintained.
  • Develop industry standards for the administration of scaffolding skills and knowledge.
  • Stand up and recognize the many scaffolders working hard to keep Alberta’s construction industry safe.

8. Concerning HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATOR CERTIFICATE OF QUALIFICATION PROGRAM

Local 68 members and contractors agree that the heavy equipment operator certificate of qualification program in BC requires significant overhaul. At present, the program has only a five to eight percent completion rate.

Given the current and expected increased demand for properly trained heavy equipment operators, the BC government needs to actively address the shortcomings of the current certification program.

IT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THIS CONVENTION that CLAC call on BC’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of the heavy equipment operator certificate of qualification program.
  • Collaborate with unions, industry partners, training authorities, and employees in the construction industry to revise the certification program to meet the needs of participants and industry, similar to other skilled trades’ qualification programs.
  • Call on subject matter experts to create new, more robust definitions and expectations of progressive competency attainment, establishing appropriate benchmarks for each piece of equipment (excavator, loader, grader, dozer, rock truck, backhoe).

9. Concerning OPEN, FAIR, AND COMPETITIVE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT PRACTICES

Open tendering—a fair and competitive process that does not limit procurement of public projects to the signatory contractors and members of any particular union or association—provides the greatest possible economic value to BC taxpayers, maximizes the full potential of the province’s workforce, and preserves an employee’s right of freedom of association.

Closed public procurement practices, which traditionally restrict tendering and access to work on public projects to those parties signatory to, or who are members of, select unions (Canada’s Building Trades Unions), prevents the vast majority of British Columbians from applying their craft on public projects, limiting or altogether eliminating significant economic opportunities for hard-working tradespeople throughout the province.

IT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THIS CONVENTION that CLAC encourages the BC Legislative Assembly to affirm its commitment to open tendering by introducing a bill mandating that the public procurement process must occur in a manner that is open, fair, and competitive.

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