Toronto – April 7, 2014 – Since 1948, World Health Day has been marked annually on April 7, to recognize the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). The day provides an opportunity for people around the world to work for solutions to the health problems that affect our communities.
Health and wellbeing go hand in hand with equality. Evidence shows higher levels of equality and a more fair distribution of wealth and resources lead to healthier populations. Adversely, income inequality in Canada has been on the rise for a number of years under successive right-wing governments whose corporate handouts and successive tax breaks for elites and corporations have seriously accelerated income inequality. The impact has been felt by all working people as ultra-conservative governments have paid for tax cuts for the rich by cutting back public programs that support a healthy society – such as environmental enforcement, education programs, access to safe affordable housing, health research, and programs for the disabled to name just a few.
Ending inequality is what gave rise to the birth of our great union. By exercising their right to organize a union and bargain collectively, our members ensure that their working lives are more safe and secure. Their loved ones are reassured that they will return home at the end of each day, confident in the knowledge that they have union protection. As Canada's leading union we must also continue to fight on all fronts, to return our country to a place where the health and hopes of all Canadians are the guiding principles of government.
On behalf of more than 250,000 members of UFCW Canada, I wish you and your family a safe and happy World Health Day. May we all work together for a healthier and more equal society in Canada and around the world.
Paul R. Meinema