EDITORIAL: Labour Day takes on bigger meaning in 2020

Labour Day 2020 will be perhaps the most unique Canada has celebrated in modern times.

Labour Day 2020 will be perhaps the most unique Canada has celebrated in modern times.

Labour Day, which falls on the first Monday of September—today—honours workers and labour union movements in North America and other Commonwealth countries.

The statutory holiday began officially in Canada in 1894, but originated in 1872 after the Toronto printers’ strike that saw labour unions decriminalized and the national Trade Union Act passed. It was referred to as the “original fight for fairness” according to the Canadian Labour Congress.

RELATED: As CERB winds down, labour group asks Liberals to rethink EI

RELATED: ‘Hunger strike’ for hotel workers ends 22 days after it started in Victoria

In 2020, Labour Day may well stand for the industries, jobs and employees who survived the coronavirus pandemic. In July, seven million Canadians still didn’t have a job to go back to, and another two million, according to the Canada Labour Congress, were being subsidized by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.

The pandemic brought into focus the jobs that counted when the country shut down suddenly. And surprise: a lot of them were trades, as well as health care, food, beverage and retail grocery jobs. The federal essential service list comprised more than 200 jobs, and many of them were trades.

Where once the labour movement fought for a nine-hour work day, fair wages and safer workplaces, the fight for the rest of 2020 and looking forward to 2021 may well be that of survival. The CLC feels strongly that there are lessons to be learned to build a stronger, more resilient economy in Canada. Part of those reforms include social reform, to ensure no one falls through the cracks the way they did in March and April.

Another part of that should be recognizing the importance of the jobs that were deemed essential during a global crisis.

So enjoy the unofficial final weekend of summer, but take some time to celebrate the accomplishments of all the workers that made it through the last five challenging months. Going forward, let’s remember to support those who supported us when we needed them the most.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Districtlabour marketPORT ALBERNIskilled trades

Just Posted

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

NDP solution to homelessness is to ‘warehouse’ people: BC Liberal leader

Andrew Wilkinson made a campaign stop in Campbell River and was asked about homelessness

Victoria Humane Society takes revenue hit after donation bins vandalized

Organization removes clothing donation bins after contents removed, scattered

South Island Transportation Strategy looks to reduce reliance on personal vehicles

EV charging stations, bike lockers, new park-and-ride stalls among solutions in Capital Region

Vancouver Island police officers sporting personalized face masks

Masks for Central Saanich officers will feature the crest and individual officer pin numbers

B.C.’s top doctor encourages Halloween costumes to include masks

Dr. Bonnie Henry will soon be releasing guidelines on how to safely trick-or-treat this Halloween

Federal child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Parksville pedestrian airlifted to hospital in Vancouver after nighttime collision

Police report man’s injuries were ‘significant’ but not life-threatening

Shoplifting suspect allegedly spits on worker at store in Nanaimo

Suspect became aggressive when confronted by loss prevention officer at Walmart, say RCMP

Ladysmith man shocked out of his seat after $50,000 Keno win

Larry Salmond plans to purchase a new RV with his winnings

Cowichan Performing Arts Centre streaming new short film tonight

Standing By has been created and performed by Cowichan-raised actor Nicole Ratjen.

Ladysmith man arrested in Saanich after towed sawmill draws attention

Police located the man thanks to social media and a keen-eyed witness

Survey finds doctors worry supplies of flu vaccine, PPE will lag demand

Canadian health officials have said additional flu vaccines have been ordered to meet expected demand

Most Read