The Toronto and York Region Labour Council approved its 2020-2022 Strategic Plan in November of 2019, as announced in a press release in January, and in full here. Continuing the Labour Council’s longstanding leadership on climate justice, Plan item #3 is “Tackle climate change”, which states that the Labour Council will:
- Work to counter the efforts to sabotage climate action by polluters and conservative politicians, including their “carbon tax revolt” which is promoted by Conservative premiers and climate change deniers
- Establish a climate justice labour network
- Provide educational material to highlight the real cost of inaction by governments and businesses, and get young members engaged by using new, creative approaches
- Continue to work in coalition with key environmental organizations including youth and student-led groups
- Work with affiliates, local governments and school boards to adopt serious climate action policies
- Continue promoting the creation of Joint Labour-Management Environment Committees and ask affiliates to bargain for their establishment
- Help to popularize the key elements of a Green New Deal for All.
Putting these goals into action, the Labour Council hosted its 2nd Climate Justice Network Roundtable on February 12. It also released a 3-page Plan of Engagement for Unions which includes the a sample climate change resolution for affiliate unions, and a sample resolution to take to convention. The sample resolution for affiliates is also published ( page 17) in the Winter 2020 issue of the Labour Council’s magazine, Labour Action .
The sample resolution asks affiliate unions to join the fight for climate justice through the following actions:
- Ask the employer to detail their plans to climate-proof the workplace;
- Bargain contract language on climate, and a union role in sustainability;
- Seek the establishment of Joint Workplace Environment Committees;
- Establish training programs for members to be actively involved in greening the workplace;
- Utilize an equity lens to ensure new job opportunities benefit all of our communities;
- Engage in campaigns for climate justice – including Just Transition legislation for workers and communities impacted by changes to a low-carbon economy;
- Support public services that deliver quality programs and good jobs while ensuring public control and operation.
Also in the Winter issue of Labour Action : a profile on page 16 of the many activities of the Labour Council’s Labour Education Centre , which include a strong component of training programs for climate change literacy. In addition, the LEC has researched Just Transition experiences after closing of coal-fired electricity plants in Alberta, Australia and Ontario, and is publishing those results. Finally, LEC continues to support a Joint Labour Management Committee at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) that has made a number of recommendations to dramatically decrease the GHG emissions in the Board.
The Toronto and York Region Labour Council shares climate justice resources at a dedicated website, including social media shareables, links to articles and documents such as the pioneering 2016 Greenprint , and all the documents mentioned above.