Toronto – April 10, 2014 – On December 3, 2009, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario declared April as "Hispanic Heritage Month." The Month recognizes the many contributions that Spanish-speaking immigrants from Hispanic countries have made and continue to make to Canadian society. The Month also provides an opportunity to celebrate the Latin American traditions rooted within Canada's cultural mosaic.
Latin American Canadians comprise 1.2 percent of the country's population, and from 2001 to 2011, Ontario's Latin American population jumped an astonishing 62 percent, from 106,835 citizens to 172,560. As well, Latinos are not only the largest single minority in North America, but also within the UFCW International Union.
In recognition of the growing number of Hispanic UFCW members and their contributions to Canadian life and the economy, UFCW Canada has formed strong and lasting alliances with the Latin American Trade Unionists Coalition (LATUC), Latinos Unidos, and the Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples (CSSP), among other Latino non-profit organizations. We also sit on the board of the CSSP, and support the Centre's community-driven work in areas such as settlement services, legal aid, AIDS prevention programs, and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.
"Toronto was one of the first cities to proclaim April as Hispanic Heritage Month, and we hope that the city's leadership on this issue will create a ripple effect whereby cities across Ontario recognize the contributions that our Latin American brothers and sisters make in the agricultural, industrial, and service sectors in Canada," says Paul Meinema, UFCW Canada's National President. "Spanish is the second most popular language in the world, and Latin American members comprise a high percentage of the labour force in this country, with members found in virtually every sector of the Canadian economy," Brother Meinema adds.
In honour of these contributions, UFCW Canada is encouraging all members and allies to reach out to Spanish-speaking communities during Hispanic Heritage Month, and to celebrate the rich culture that Latin American Canadians contribute to our country's social and economic fabric.