September 5, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
Today, the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., issued the following statement marking Labour Day:
“Labour Day began as a protest—10,000 workers marching in solidarity with the striking Toronto Typographical Union. For more than 150 years, Canada’s labour movement has been fighting for safer, fairer work. We owe them for the creation of the middle class we have today.
Today, I encourage all Canadians to take a moment to think about how workers’ rights and labour laws have evolved over the years and have resulted in real positive change in our day-to-day lives.
We owe improvements in workplace safety standards, paid vacations, maternity leave and parental leave, and minimum wage to the generations of labour activists and Canadian workers.
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that you cannot take people’s work for granted. Front-line workers, truckers, port workers and railroaders, grocery store workers, transit employees and health care workers. We owe them our thanks and our solidarity.
We celebrated the first Labour Day over 125 years ago, and while we have made progress, there is so much more to do.
Many workers continue to face challenges such as precarious work, racism, mental health issues—and now, rising inflation. We need to build on the labour movement’s achievements to support workers, create good jobs, and maintain safe and healthy workplaces.
We’ve got an ambitious plan to do that this fall.
Paid sick leave will become a reality for workers in federally regulated sectors on December 1, 2022, when they will begin to accrue 10 paid days. Paid sick leave will protect workers and their families, and it will close a gap in our social safety net. We’ll continue to work toward a ban on the use of replacement workers in the event of a strike or a lockout. We’ll work with labour and industry on a fair, sustainable and worker-led energy transition. We’re getting closer to ratifying the International Labour Organization’s Convention 190 to eliminate violence and harassment at work, and we’re committed to eradicating forced labour from Canada’s supply chains.
Today and every day, the government of Canada is putting workers first to create a fair, resilient and prosperous Canada.
I wish all Canadians a safe and happy Labour Day.”