ACLA Ontario 2021 Year End Report

As we approach 2022, Asian Canadian Labour Alliance (ACLA) would like to thank you for your support and best wishes for the upcoming year.

As a society, we are still coming to grips with recognizing and addressing Canada’s colonial relationship with Indigenous communities and the role that genocide has played and continues to play. From the deaths of thousands of children in residential schools to the ongoing destruction of Indigenous lands by large extractive industries, we must all work together to build a different society that ends the unequal relationship between settlers and Indigenous communities.

Working class peoples continue to bear the brunt of this pandemic. Clawbacks to income supports have disproportionately impacted racialized communities.  Frontline workers continue to be heralded as heroes while being denied basic protections such as permanent paid sick days. While Ontario will finally have a minimum wage of $15 an hour, it’s four years too late. The lag in an increase meant that the province stole millions of dollars in wages from the most vulnerable members of our workforce.

Bosses claim that there is a labour shortage, and that good help is hard to find. We disagree. We don’t have a labour shortage; we have a crisis of good work. Our labour market remains precarious because politicians refuse to budge to lift the minimum standards to improve conditions for all workers. This year has been full of challenges, but there are also significant victories won by workers coming together to collectively demand change. Amazon workers across the United States and Canada are organizing and fighting back against greedy bosses who care more about profits rather than people. ACLA also celebrates recent victories of garment workers employed at Canada Goose in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Over 1,000 workers, mostly immigrant women, organized a significant union victory in the garment industry. We also send messages of solidarity to the hundreds of non-unionized truckers who have taken to the streets to expose bad bosses and wage theft, fighting for change. Finally, we honour gig workers everywhere that have come together to demand better workplace protections across industries. Their struggles are a beacon of light during some very tough and difficult times.

Despite heightened anti-Asian racism, an assault on workers from bosses and government officials, workers are mobilizing, organizing, and transforming their daily lives to demand justice. ACLA salutes all those workers who fight everyday and night to demand fairness and decency to improve working conditions for today and for future generations. We look forward to building on these successes in 2022. The struggle continues.

Below are highlights of ACLA Ontario’s activities for 2021:

Toronto Solidarity Rally Against Anti-Asian Racism: Asian Canadian community members, organizations, and allies came together for a solidarity rally against anti-Asian racism at Nathan Philips Square in Toronto, co-organized by Asian Canadian Labour Alliance (ACLA), Butterfly, Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice (CCNC-SJ), Chinese Canadian National Council, Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO) and For A Safer Space – March 28, 2021

Documentary on the Toronto Solidarity Rally Against Anti-Asian Racism: ACLA created and released a short film documentary about the Toronto Solidarity Rally Against Anti-Asian Racism – Spring 2021

University of Toronto’s Women & Gender Studies Institute and the Department of Sociology: presentation on anti-Asian racism and intersectional violence to almost 400 attendees online with participants from Canada, USA, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand – March 26, 2021

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) Webinar Series, Environmental Racism: supporting this important project as a guest speaker – April 15, 2021

Telefilm Canada: presentation on anti-Asian sentiments – April 30, 2021

Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario’s (EFTO) Union School: presentation on anti-Asian racism – April 30, 2021

Toronto & York Region Labour Council IWOC Conference: delivered Environmental Racism workshop with CBTU – June 12, 2021

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance 16th Biennial Convention: convention attendee – August 5 – 8, 2021

Good Jobs For All, Forum on Climate Crisis: worked with CBTU on Environmental Racism Project to help organize the event – October 13 and November 15, 2021

Canadian Labour International Film Festival 2021: ACLA participates in film festival and hosts a screening – November 25, 2021

Peace, love & solidarity,
Asian Canadian Labour Alliance, Ontario Chapter