Toronto – May 22, 2013 – The International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations' international body on labour rights, has released a report regarding the application of ILO conventions. It gave the Stephen Harper government and the provincial governments of Alberta and Ontario failing grades with respect to labour rights for agriculture workers.
Although Canada and its provinces ratified ILO Convention 87 - Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize in 1972, the federal government and the provinces of Ontario and Alberta still refuse to enforce this internationally-recognized convention on workers' rights.
In 2009, UFCW Canada filed a formal complaint with the ILO asking them to investigate the failure of these governments to give adequate labour rights to agriculture workers. Two years later, the ILO ruled in favour of UFCW Canada and requested that the governments of Canada, Alberta, and Ontario extend the right to freely unionize to farm workers.
It is now 2013, and Conservative Boss Stephen Harper and the governments of Ontario and Alberta continue to ignore the ILO by refusing to amend their legislation to guarantee the right of agriculture workers to join the union and bargain collectively.
By failing to follow the ILO's ruling and refusing to enforce Convention 87, Boss Harper and the premiers of Alberta and Ontario are giving Canada a black eye on the international stage. It’s time for Harper and the premiers to stop playing politics with this issue by recognizing that labour rights are human rights and giving farm workers the freedoms to which they are entitled.