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Posts published in “CUPE BC”

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

On May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, CUPE recommits to fighting for safety for LGBTQ2+ workers and ending hate in all its forms.

Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and trans people are subjected to harassment and discrimination far too often. This also occurs in our own workplaces. A recent report released by CUPE, Egale Canada and Carleton University, found that LGBTQ2+ workers and LGBTQ2+ older adults in Canada do not always experience safety when working in or accessing public services, and that these issues are especially severe for those also facing racism, ableism and other forms of oppression.

Importantly, the report shows that safer working conditions for LGBTQ2+ public service workers are related to safer service conditions for LGBTQ2+ clients, and vice versa. CUPE members know that our working conditions are the conditions of service provision. And we fight every day to make our workplaces and public services safer for all. Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia have no place in our workplaces and communities. Today and every day, CUPE stands with LGBTQ2+ workers to end violence, harassment, and discrimination.

Take Action!

National Day of Mourning – April 28 2021 – CUPE

Apr 28, 2021 - National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job

Almost 40 years ago, CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee created the Day of Mourning. When they envisioned the day, the members of the National Committee wanted to remember the lives lost on the job. They also wanted to inspire workers to fight for the living and prevent further tragedies through workplace advocacy.

This is the second Day of Mourning since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We have now seen over a million cases in Canada, with more than 23,000 deaths. These deaths include people who contracted COVID-19 in the workplace.

Every year, around 1,000 workers die on the job in Canada. We will not know the full impact of COVID-19 on workplace fatalities until later this year. However, since the beginning of 2020, fourteen CUPE members have died as a result of their work. Ten of these deaths were due to COVID-19. This constitutes the highest number of workplace fatalities in a given year that our union has ever recorded.

Evidence from across the country shows that COVID-19 is spreading at work, not only in health and care settings, but also in schools, offices, transportation, and other sectors. Frontline workers, including many CUPE members, are being disproportionately impacted. At-risk worker populations, including workers from racialized and immigrant communities, are being infected at levels that are magnitudes higher than the general population. This can be attributed in part to the effects of precarious work and a lack of paid sick days. These conditions are also affecting workers’ mental health.

Every jurisdiction in Canada has a law that requires employers to provide workers with a healthy and safe workplace. Nevertheless, throughout the pandemic, workers’ health and safety demands have gone unheard. Many governments and workplaces are refusing to acknowledge how COVID-19 is spread and are failing to provide workers with appropriate protection.

A pandemic is no excuse for not following or enforcing health and safety laws. Employers and regulators are failing workers.

No one should lose their life at work. This year, as we mourn workers killed on the job, CUPE vows to keep up the fight to ensure safe and healthy workplaces for all.

Since the beginning of 2020, 14 CUPE members died because of work:

  • Victoria Salvan, CUPE 2881, Quebec
  • Warlito Valdez, CUPE 1936, British Columbia
  • Ronaldo David, CUPE 145, Ontario
  • Jean-Géthro Joseph, CUPE 2199, Ontario
  • Roger Desautels, CUPE 416, Ontario
  • Agary Akaekpuchionwa, CUPE 503, Ontario
  • Mariyan Beile, CUPE 2199, Ontario
  • Kurtis Cleaveley, CUPE 1000, Ontario
  • Aurèle Poirier, CUPE 4721, Ontario
  • Tyler Isaac, CUPE 1000, Ontario
  • Jean Claude Dianzenza, CUPE 204, Manitoba
  • Ingrid Salt, CUPE 1328, Ontario
  • Shihab Shams, CUPE 2191, Ontario
  • Antonio Gaerlan, CUPE 145, Ontario

Earth Day – Apr 22, 2021 – For Earth Day, time to recognize a Climate Change Emergency.

This Earth Day, we invite Local executives to sign on to the CUPE Climate Change Emergency Declaration.

While the planet reels in response to the health emergency from COVID-19, we cannot lose sight of the environmental crisis. There is no vaccine for climate change. Global temperatures continue to go up, and we continue to experience an increasingly destabilized climate.

CUPE recognizes the urgency of the situation and is dedicated to being part of the climate crisis solution.

This Earth Day, ask your local to endorse and sign on to the CUPE Climate Change Emergency Declaration. Pass it on to local labour councils and other community groups where you live to help build support. Act on the steps outlined in the declaration.

When your local signs the declaration, please let us know by sending an email to

Examples of environmental bargaining language can be accessed here.

CUPE’s National Environment Policy can be accessed here.

Day of Pink – Apr 14, 2021

On April 14, wear pink in solidarity with LGBTQ2+ people

Exclusion and violence against marginalized communities are ongoing problems that are amplified in crises like pandemics. LGBTQ2+ workers may experience homophobia and transphobia in their jobs, public spaces and sometimes personal spaces. Transgender workers are disproportionately denied jobs, healthcare and housing and face high rates of bullying and violence. LGBTQ2+ workers who are also marginalized by class, white supremacy, colonialism and ableism, are even more likely to have precarious employment, low income and insecure housing. At the same time, they’re also more likely to face surveillance, over-aggressive policing and assault.

With COVID-19, disparities have grown. Employment conditions have worsened.  Racism has spiked. Safer spaces are closed. In these and other areas of life, the LGBTQ2+ community is unevenly hit.

Unfortunately, equity measures are being put on the back burner at the very time they’re needed most. Initiatives to build cultural competency (greater organizational understanding and better practices) around gender and sexual diversity have been postponed. Employment equity initiatives in some workplaces have been paused. Equity offices are working short.

Attention is rightly focused on pandemic-related safety, but decades of underfunding and privatization have left public services short-staffed and under-resourced. Before COVID-19, equity measures were a patchwork. Now that patchwork is stretched even thinner.

CUPE members working with LGBTQ2+ seniors know the particular challenges this community faces.  This year, CUPE has released a report, co-written with Egale and Carleton University, on safer public services for LGBTQ2+ workers and LGBTQ2+ service users. The report finds that working conditions for LGBTQ2+ workers are related to service conditions for LGBTQ2+ clients, and vice versa. It also identifies several promising practices to make public services more inclusive for LGBTQ2+ workers and service users, including employment equity and safety standards tied to funding.

On April 14, take a stand against bullying. Wear pink and post a photo on social media #dayofpink.

Let’s work together to stop bullying and harassment. Visit our LGBTQ2+ page for more info.