Vancouver - The BC Federation of Labour is offering free English as an Additional Language (EAL) courses to help new English language speakers in the workforce and promote improved workplace health and safety.
In Vancouver, the course runs from 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays for 12 weeks, starting July 4, at the BCFED office, 200-5118 Joyce Street, near the Joyce SkyTrain station.
In Richmond, the course runs from 10 am to 2 pm Fridays for 12 weeks, starting July 7, at Richmond Multicultural Community Services office, 220-4351 No. 3 Road, at the Aberdeen SkyTrain station.
The workshops are open to all workers or those seeking work throughout the Lower Mainland who want to improve their English language skills. At the same time, participants learn about workplace health and safety rules, their rights as workers, and employers’ obligations to provide a safe working environment.
Upon completion, participants in the program receive a certificate and are invited to a graduation dinner.
"This program is unique in Canada," said Irene Lanzinger, president of the BCFED. "We're trying to overcome any barriers that people have to accessing health and safety information to help make workplaces safer."
The program—which has been offered since 2008—started in response to high profile tragedies that highlighted the need for increased awareness of health and safety rights and responsibilities for new Canadians with language or literacy barriers.
In 2007, a van carrying farm workers was involved in a motor vehicle accident near Abbotsford. Three workers were killed, and 14 were seriously injured. In 2008, three immigrant workers were killed and two were left with permanent brain damage after inhaling toxic fumes at a Langley mushroom farm.
The free courses are coordinated and run by the Federation’s Health & Safety Centre with funding from the BC Workers' Compensation Board (WorkSafe BC).
For more information or to register for the program, visit: http://www.healthandsafetybc.ca/eal
Vancouver-Today’s throne speech, loaded with promises that the BC Liberals had rejected just weeks ago, defies belief and is a brazen, desperate effort to cling to power by Christy Clark, says the BC Federation of Labour.
“I think the vast majority of British Columbians will see it for what it is—part of Christy Clark’s game to hold onto power,” says BCFED President Irene Lanzinger. “Thankfully, there’s one silver lining in the speech—the Christy Clark game over countdown can now begin,” she says.
“British Columbians voted for change in the May election, for making life more affordable, for better public services and for good-paying jobs and an economy that works for everyone.
“After 16 years of governing for people at the top, it’s time for Clark and the BC Liberals to stop the game playing and give the NDP an opportunity to deliver the change voters want.”
Lanzinger says Clark’s crass efforts diminish our democracy because they will breed even more cynicism among voters about politicians.
June 21 marks the 21st celebration of Canada’s National Aboriginal Day. It’s a day that acknowledges and celebrates the diversity of indigenous peoples and the rich heritage of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. In a practical way, this acknowledgement begins with recognizing the traditional indigenous territory where all Canadians live, work and play.
This territorial acknowledgement is beginning to happen at schools, union halls and government events across the country, and is a meaningful step toward reconciliation. The indigenous people of Canada are an integral part of everything we have come to enjoy with respect to freedom and economic prosperity in this country, and we must be ever mindful of this.
This year also marks 150 years since Canada was formed as a country. This is a time to reflect on the history and experiences of the indigenous people of our country, and to reflect on what the lives of indigenous people looked like on these lands before contact.
The federal government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has gained publicity since it released its report and 94 calls to action in 2016. But there remains much work to do to bring awareness and education to the general public of the injustices committed against indigenous communities after the creation of Canada. It is also important to recognize that not all indigenous people will celebrate or acknowledge July 1 Canada Day.
Media coverage has put the spotlight on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. British Columbia has the highest numbers of murdered and missing in Canada. While acknowledging the high numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, it is imperative to consider the families and children left behind.
Yes, our duty as a society is to ensure that we fix what is wrong with our system that allows indigenous women to be stolen from us at such alarming rates. But we must do so by supporting the families and loved ones of the missing and murdered. We must unite to promote truth and justice in this area, so families have a voice in providing statements and information to contribute in a meaningful way to the national inquiry, and to make sure those family members are supported through the process.
The Federation will continue to support the work of the Coalition on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and encourage union members and their families to post information on the inquiry in communities across the province to include as many families as possible in this process.
Media both provincially and nationally have been highlighting issues like child poverty, the lack of clean drinking water, environmental protection, and the general state of critical infrastructure on reserves, including homes and schools. Ongoing focus is needed on these important issues, as well as the issues of cultural appropriation of indigenous culture, unemployment and the need for youth supports and programs. It is crucial that we respect the rights of indigenous communities as we would any other community in Canada, including their right to raise their children. The importance of this is underlined as we realize indigenous youth are the fastest growing population segment in Canada – a group that has alarmingly high suicide rates.
The Yukon has made National Aboriginal Day an official statutory holiday, and it is time we do the same here in British Columbia and throughout the country, so that people can come together to understand our history and celebrate our future. Let’s start by learning more about the issues affecting indigenous peoples and show up to celebrate, support and acknowledge their rightful place in this country’s history and current landscape.
"We are committed to working with the LGBTQ2*+ community to achieve equity in law, in our communities, and in workplaces, and to solidify a culture of inclusivity in our province."
Irene Lanzinger, 2016
Please see the link below for a list of Pride Events across British Columbia
Here's a list of Labour Day Events Across the Province. Please check back as new events will be posted.
North Okanagan Labour Council
Date: Monday September 4, 2017
Time: Noon to 3:00 pm
Host: North Okanagan Labour Council
Location: Mission Creek Regional Park, 2363 Springfield Road
New Westminster & District Labour Council
Date: Monday September 4, 2017
Time: 11:30 am - 2:30 pm
Host: New Westminster & District Labour Council
Location: Holland Park, 13428 Old Yale Road
The BCFED Union Renewal Conference--Making Work Work for Everyone--will take place October 26-28, 2017, in Victoria.
For more information and to register, please visit the conference site: click here.
Each year the BCFED hosts a Young Workers' School at Camp Jubilee for workers aged 30 or under. The School is held in a retreat-like environment in the Indian Arm. Participants will attend courses to help them build skills related to the labour movement, political and community organizing, and leadership skills. In addition to coursework, attendees will be able to participate in a variety of outdoor activities and connect with other young workers from around the province.
For more information and to register: click here.
Vancouver--“Last year more than 100,000 workplace injuries and occupational illnesses were reported in BC. It’s an incredible toll on workers and their families.
June 1 is National Injured Workers’ Day across Canada, a day to stand in solidarity with injured workers for the restoration of dignity, respect and justice. Workplace accidents have tragic consequences and a lasting impact on the workers who experience them.
The BC Federation of Labour believes that every workplace injury is preventable. So June 1 is also a day to renew our demand that employers, the Workers’ Compensation Board and the provincial government to do more to keep workers safe on the job.
The well-being of workers is being compromised because safety rules are weak and not always rigorously enforced. Injured workers aren’t fairly compensated. And, employers whose negligence results in a worker being injured on the job or contacting an occupational disease are let off with a slap on the wrist.
The tragic legacy of 16 years of BC Liberal government is clear: weaker protections, no enforcement, no consequences for employers, and benefit cuts for injured workers.
As BC prepares for an historic political change, it’s positive that the new NDP government with the support of the Green Party will commit to taking action ‘to protect the safety of workers at work so that everyone goes home safely and that workers and families are protected in cases of death or injury.’”
Vancouver-The pact announced today that paves the way for a progressive majority government and a partnership between the BC NDP and the BC Greens creates an historic opportunity for lasting and profound change in our province, says BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger.
“All British Columbians who voted for change in the May 9 election should be heartened that our two left of centre parties were able to reach an agreement that has so much potential to make lives better for all British Columbians,” says BCFED President Irene Lanzinger.
Now Lanzinger says the spotlight shifts to BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon who will decide the next step. “Respectfully, we would encourage the Queen’s Representative in BC to be guided in her decisions by two things: The agreement reached today by the BC NDP and the Greens for a majority government, and the 60% of British Columbians who voted for change in the recent election,” says Lanzinger.