Sherry Hillier

Sherry Hillier presents at hearings for the NL Auto Insurance Review

creynolds Article

Sherry HillierOn June 5, 2018, CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier and CUPE National Researcher Carol Ferguson spoke as presenters at the Auto Insurance Review Board hearing conducted by the NL Public Utilities Board.

Members on the bench of the Auto Insurance Review included Chair and CEO Darlene Whalen, Commissioner Dwanda Newman, Vice-Chair of the Board, and Commissioner Jim Oxford.

The Public Utilities Board was initiated by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to “review and report on a number of issues with respect to automobile insurance in the province, including the reasons behind increasing claims costs for private passenger vehicles and taxi operators, and options to reduce these costs. The Board has been specifically asked to examine the impact on rates and implications for claimants of introducing a monetary cap on claims for non-economic loss for minor/mild injuries or continuing with the current deductible of $2,500 or increasing the deductible.”

The hearings are scheduled from June 4 to June 14, 2018, and may be extended if necessary.

Other parties at the hearing included the Consumer Advocate, the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association, the Campaign to Protect Accident Victims, Spinal Cord Injury NL, and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

All information and documents filed in the review will be placed on the record and on the Board’s website, including CUPE NL’s written submission. Transcripts of the hearing will be distributed electronically to the parties and will also be posted on the website.

CUPE NL supports the development of a publicly owned, full service, non-profit automobile insurance system to deliver comprehensive, no-fault insurance to all licensed drivers in the province, including private passenger drivers, independent commercial owner-operators and fleet company drivers (such as trucking, courier, and taxi companies) at fair, non-discriminatory rates.

CUPE NL excerpt from the transcript dated June 5, 2018

Sherry Hillier: Thank you, Board. I’m Sherry Hillier. I’m the newly-elected president of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador, taking over the position of former president, Wayne Lucas.

Carol Ferguson: Good morning. Carol Ferguson. I am the research representative for the Atlantic Region of CUPE.

Sherry Hillier: Good morning. I’d like to thank the Board for the opportunity to speak to you today about automobile insurance. CUPE is the largest union with more than 650,000 members across the country. Our 6,300 members in Newfoundland and Labrador would, in various sectors, include health care, post-secondary K to 12 education, municipalities, housing, social services, libraries among others. CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador’s members are proud to provide services which support the development of vibrant healthy communities and strong local economies.

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador believes this review provides a valued opportunity to explore the possibilities of creating an improved automobile insurance system for the province. Instead of just tinkering with the existing system by tweaking the rates, adjusting the profits, moving the caps up and down, why not seize the opportunity to fix the problem once and for all?

CUPE recommends the creation of a publicly-owned non-profit automobile insurance that can offer fair, non- discriminatory rates and high-quality coverage for all licensed drivers, including private passenger drivers, independent commercial owner/operators, and drivers for fleet companies such as trucking, courier and taxi companies. By implementing a public auto insurance plan, Newfoundland and Labrador would become the fifth province within Canada to have a publicly-owned publicly-operated system of automobile insurance. British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec have enjoyed the benefits of public auto insurance for many decades under governments of various political stripes. Newfoundland and Labrador would be in the enviable position of being able to learn from experiences of other jurisdictions to design costs to implement made in Newfoundland and Labrador full service system to meet the vehicle insurance needs of the people of our province. CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador believes a public auto insurance plan makes good sense both economically and socially for our province.

Today, I want to outline why we reached this conclusion and invite anyone looking for more detailed information to read our submission to the Public Utilities Board Automobile Insurance.

First of all, it is important to remember drivers are required by legislation to purchase automobile insurance. It isn’t an option. It isn’t like we’re going to decide if we’re going to buy a coffee or not. Driving without insurance is a very serious offence and severe penalties which may include heavy fines and suspension of a driver’s licence. Legislation requiring automobile insurance means private insurance companies have a captive market.

Because governments require drivers to purchase automobile insurance, CUPE believes that governments have a responsibility to ensure that benefits are fairly delivered at a reasonable cost. Insurance premiums in Newfoundland and Labrador are among the highest in the country. Newfoundland and Labrador was ranked tenth out of 13 jurisdictions in insurance premium rates in 2017.

[An] Ontario report commissioned by the Minister of discriminatory rates and high-quality coverage for all licensed drivers, including private passenger drivers, independent commercial owner/operators, and drivers for fleet companies such as trucking, courier and taxi companies.

By implementing a public auto insurance plan, Newfoundland and Labrador would become the fifth province within Canada to have a publicly-owned publicly-operated system of automobile insurance. British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec have enjoyed the benefits of public auto insurance for many decades under governments of various political stripes.

Newfoundland and Labrador would be in the enviable position of being able to learn from experiences of other jurisdictions to design costs to implement made in Newfoundland and Labrador full-service system to meet the vehicle insurance needs of the people of our province. CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador believes a public auto insurance plan makes good sense both economically and socially for our province.

Today, I want to outline a finance [report] titled “Clear Benefits Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance System in Ontario.” This comprehensive report compared current provincial auto insurance premiums for private passenger vehicles in each province and territory. It supports what ordinary citizens are saying, “Auto insurance rates in this province are too high.”

In 2016, drivers in Newfoundland and Labrador paid approximately $434 million in premiums and received approximately $334 million in claims.

This information filed is with the Superintendent of Insurance.

The premiums exceeded disbursement payments for direct claims for almost $100 million dollars. Private companies used this $100 million dollars, presumably, to cover operating costs such as staff, offices, promotions, broker fees and other profits—other expenses including profits.

Four companies have a stranglehold on the insurance in Newfoundland and Labrador. Ninety-five per cent of auto insurance services are provided by approximately 16 insurers. When common ownership among these are factored in, only four companies provide approximately 84 per cent of the automobile insurance business. The automobile insurance industry in Newfoundland is profitable and monopolized.

Most of the capital generated by auto insurance sectors—sector does not stay in the province. The head offices for most of these companies are 11 located elsewhere. The profits go directly the companies’ shareholders. Under a publicly-owned and administered system, that considerable business capital generated by insurance premiums could be invested here to support the goals of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Private insurance systems tend to be ineffective. Disputes lead to a very high percentage of premiums being used to pay experts and lawyers and not going directly to the injured persons. Business costs for private insurance systems include duplication, competitive market and profits. The province pubic insurance—insurers of British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan do not charge higher premiums than those of private insurers in other provinces.

In fact, the public insurance tends to offer rates which are often lower than or at least comparable to rates in other provinces.

Public automobile insurance companies have attributed their ability to offer a good insurance product at a lower premium due to the following factors.

  • The not-for profit nature of their mandates. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC, became the exception following an amendment to its legislation in 2010.
  • Reduced administration costs due to the greater efficiencies and economies of scale.
  • Lower marketing costs due to the monopoly status of mandatory insurance coverage.
  • Reduced high-cost claims because of the effectiveness of their road safety and
  • Driver improvement programs.

While premium rates are important when considering the value of public insurance systems, there are other facts which contribute to the effectiveness of insurance plans, including the quality of the insurance product, reliability of service, capacity of the capital to remain within the province, et cetera.

The four public auto insurance plans vary from province to province, but they share many common factors including:

  • All Crown corporations with similar core values. They [are] the sole providers of the mandatory auto mobile insurance plan within their respective provinces.
  • They are responsible for driver licensing, vehicle registration, and play a leading role in education programs and road safety and driver improvement.
  • They provide the mandatory insurance coverage and mandatory minimum amount of all vehicles registered by residence with valid driver’s licences in their respective province.
  • Because public insurance companies are required to insure all legal drivers in their respective province, they use the driving record of the individual and not that of his or her peer group to calculate the individual premium levels.

All drivers in Manitoba and Quebec are required to purchase public automobile insurance as a part of their annual driver’s licence fee. Rate increases in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia must be approved by the public regulators.

In Quebec, the base rate of mandatory public auto insurance is set out by the provincial statute. Brokers provide the main point of contact for consumers looking to purchase auto insurance in their local communities.

While there are many commonalities, there are also differences among the public insurance plans of each province including:

  • Public auto insurers in Canada have historically operated on a not-for-profit basis. The recent exception is ICBC whose legislation was amended in 2010 permitting the provincial government to compel ICBC to pay dividends into the provincial treasury. ICBC is the only for-profit public auto insurance provider in Canada.
  • British Columbia is the only province with a public auto insurance program, which operates solely with a tort-based system.
  • Manitoba system operates on a pure no-fault model.
  • Saskatchewan is the only province that offers motorists a choice between no-fault and tort systems of insurance. With the introduction of tort option coverage in 2003. SGI coverage offered an opportunity for claimants who selected the tort option to go through the courts to sue for damages like for pain and suffering.
  • In Quebec—in the Quebec system, public auto insurance is limited to coverage of personal injuries while damage to property is covered by the private insurer.

Each provincial public auto insurance system offers special products, which have evolved over time to meet the needs of their respective clients. The salutation to a high cost of auto insurance is not to reduce the benefits. Fair benefits must be taken as the starting point in any insurance system.

The solution lies with the developing a non-profit auto insurance system that operates under public scrutiny.

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador urges the Public Utilities Board to use the [recommendation] to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to form a task force to develop a publicly-owned made-in Newfoundland and Labrador full-service not-profit automobile insurance model.

The task force’s responsibility will be to identify the key elements of the proposed model, start-up costs and implementation time. The model will continue—will outline a comprehensive no-fault plan to provide all licenced drivers in the province including private insurance passenger drivers, independent commercial owner/operators, and fleet company drivers with access to a mandatory automobile insurance coverage at fair, non-discriminatory rates.

In creating a made-in Newfoundland and Labrador public automobile insurance model, the task force can draw on the experiences of British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as the exploratory research undertaken by New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario. CUPE recommends that a not-profit crown corporation created to operate at arm’s length from the provincial government and to utilize independent brokers.

The Crown’s corporation’s mandate should include the provision of vehicle registration, driver’s licence and a mandatory auto insurance. The public auto insurance system created in Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to be financially self-sustaining and to operate on a break-even basis calculated over time.

Beyond the initial start-up loan to be paid back in a timely manner, the Crown corporation will not receive money from, nor pay dividends to, the government.

In its corporate values and operating practices, the auto insurance model should reflect Newfoundland and Labrador’s commitment to independence, fairness and prosperity for all.

Thank you.

CALM membership – Special offer for CUPE NL locals!

creynolds Article, Resources

The Canadian Association of Labour Media is a communications cooperative that seeks to strengthen the communications capacity of locals and provide a link between unions and federations, small and large, in all regions and sectors. They offer communications workshops, online training, guidebooks and many other resources.

CALM has a website that offers a range of services to labour communicators. Through the website’s login, members can access all of CALM’s content for use in their own communications materials.

How to get the free, trial membership

For the next three months, until the end of August, CUPE Newfoundland Labrador locals can have a free, trial membership to try it out!

CALM log-inTo gain access during this free trial period, go to and find the social login at the bottom of the page. Select login with (Facebook, Google, or Twitter). CALM staff will follow up to confirm your local and allow you access.

Alternately, you can email with your name, local, and email address and CALM staff will follow up with a user ID/password for you.

After the trial period, CALM staff will contact your local about annual membership.

Here’s what CALM membership gets you!

Training – Online and Workshops

  • Fundamentals of graphic design for beginners and non-designers
  • How to use your smartphone to make videos – filming and editing
  • Photography training and tips
  • How to write opinion editorials
  • How to speak at a rally
  • Effective political writing for campaigns
  • Writing good headlines
  • The art of the interview
  • Media relations
  • Making the local news
  • Dealing with journalists
  • Crisis communications
  • Strike ready – elements for a successful media strategy
  • Effective campaign organizing
  • Website design basics
  • Social media

Guides, handbooks and presentations

  • CALM editor’s handbook
  • Newsletter templates
  • CALM guidebook to dealing with media

Labour News, Visuals, Infographics

CALM publishes original and aggregated labour news, opinion and features. CALM’s editors write content for use by its members. CALM produces infographics and visuals that members can download and use in their print or online newsletters. If your organization is searching for something in particular, don’t hesitate to be in touch for help. They will create graphics for unions.

Annual CALM Awards

The annual CALM awards recognize excellence in union publications and productions in a variety of categories and classes. Entries are judged by independent experts and awarded at the annual CALM conference. You must be a CALM member in good standing to enter the awards.

CALM Conferences – building skills

CALM holds a yearly conference in the spring, alternating between the west and east of Canada. The conference is an opportunity to meet and network with colleagues from across the country. Seasoned communicators facilitate workshops designed to help members acquire new skills in writing, editing, photography, design, video, web design and development, and strategic communications and organizing. The 2018 CALM conference will take place in Halifax from May 11-13. CALM members pay a discounted delegate fee. For many unions, the discount alone pays for CALM membership.

Canadian Labour Communicators Slack channel

Are you on Slack? CALM coordinates a Slack channel for labour communicators. There, you’ll find a list of resources and other labour communicators who you can chat with to help troubleshoot and brainstorm. The channel is open to any labour activist, not just CALM members (though we strongly encourage you to join.)

Media training

For those members looking for more specialized trainings, CALM offers tailored workshops that will help members developing skills in creating media strategies for longer term campaigns, framing, story-based narrative analysis, understanding the media story cycle, and building relationships with reporters. For more information about workshops and training, please contact the CALM editor.

Media strategy consulting

Not sure about the strength of your media strategy for a campaign or issue? Want to improve the chances of getting your event or action covered by a daily or national newspaper or media outlet? We can arrange a session over the phone or Skype to offer constructive feedback and suggestions about your media strategy, framing, messaging, pitches, and other elements of your communications and media work.

SKS Child Care Centre

CUPE members support SKS Child Care Centre with $22,500 donation

creynolds News Release

Susan ShinerThis week, during the CUPE Newfoundland Labrador annual convention, members and locals came together to raise funds for the creation the SKS Child Care Centre to be built in St. John’s, NL. In all, $22,500 was raised to support Susan Shiner’s dream to create a healing space for children impacted by their experience of domestic violence.

The SKS Seed Fund, named for Susan Kathryn Shiner, was established to raise funds for the creation of a child care centre at Iris Kirby House. Susan spent her adult life working toward making the world a better place for women and children.

Shiner’s husband Rick Page explains, “In the last weeks of Susan’s life she called a group of friends together and asked that they work towards creating a dream of hers. A trauma-informed child care facility, attached to Iris Kirby House, so children will have the opportunity to heal.”

In addition to her work with Iris Kirby House, Shiner was a board member of the St. John’s Status of Women Council, a long-time CUPE member, and fierce defender of rights, both locally and nationally, for workers, women and children. Shiner was recognized with the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Governor General’s Person’s Award, the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award and the YMCA Canadian Peace Medal.

CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier says, “It is an honour to have known Susan. She was a force of nature and a passionate, kind human being. CUPE is proud to help see her dream come true and we look forward to the opening day for this important centre.”

SKS Child Care Centre: 

Sherry Hilier

Sherry Hillier newly elected president of CUPE Newfoundland Labrador

creynolds News Release

Sherry HilierDelegates at the 44th annual division convention elected Sherry Hillier as the new president of CUPE Newfoundland Labrador, in St. John’s on Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

As a licensed practical nurse, Hillier has worked in long-term care for 24 years. She has been involved in her local since 1998 – as a shop steward, recording secretary, treasurer and president.

Hillier also currently serves as Regional Vice-President representing Newfoundland and Labrador on the CUPE National Executive Board.

On a provincial level, she has served as a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Care Bargaining Committee since 2008, as recording secretary for the division from 2008 to 2016, and as secretary-treasurer for the division since 2016.  She is also the labour representative on the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP provincial executive.

She brings her experience and passion for health care issues to CUPE’s National Health Care Issues Committee, and is also an active member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Care Coalition, and serves as liaison to the CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador Equality Committee.

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador proudly represents more than 6,000 working women and men 60 locals. The union represents workers in health care, education, public housing, provincial libraries, municipalities, university, child care, recycling, social services and much more.


Apply to be on a CUPE NL standing committee

creynolds Article

CommitteeThe current term for our Provincial Standing Committees ends at the 2018 CUPE Annual Convention. These Committees will be reconstituted after the Convention.

The committees are:

  •  Occupational Health & Safety Committee
  •  Contracting Out & Privatization Committee
  •  Pensions Committee
  •  Equality Committee
  •  Global Justice Committee

If you would like to serve on any of the Provincial Committees, please submit your name, Local Number and the Committee of choice, in writing, to Sister Dawn Lahey or Sister Theresa Gillam by the end of the Convention proceedings.

The names can be submitted, in writing, at the 2018 Convention or by email no later than May 2nd, 2018 to Sister Dawn Lahey (

Wayne Lucas

CUPE NL to hold 44rd annual convention April 30 to May 2 in St. John’s

creynolds News Release

The 44th annual CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador Convention gets underway at 9 a.m. Monday, April 30 at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s and runs through to Wednesday, May 2.

Wayne LucasThis will be the final convention for CUPE NL President Wayne Lucas, who will begin his retirement with the election of a new division president on Wednesday.

Lucas has been a CUPE member for 40 years, having started his career as a school board worker in 1978. He also served as general vice-president for the Atlantic Maritime Region from 1997 to 2001. He has served as the president of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador for the past 26 years.


9:30 a.m.         Guest Speaker – Mark Hancock, CUPE National President

2:00 p.m.         Guest Speaker – Mary Shortall, NL Federation of Labour President


9:00 a.m.         Guest Speaker – Charles Fleury, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer

11:00 a.m.       Guest Speaker – Gerry Rogers, Leader, NL New Democratic Party

1:30 p.m.         Guest Speaker – Alex Furlong, Regional Director, CLC Atlantic Region

2:00 p.m.         Guest Speaker – Daniel Légère, CUPE General Vice-President


9:30 a.m.         Election of Officers

April 28 - National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job

Day of Mourning events – Newfoundland and Labrador

creynolds Article

April 28 - National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the jobNational Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job


St. John’s
Confederation Building, St. John’s
12 pm
St. John’s and District Labour Council

Grand Falls
Workers’ Memorial, Grand Falls
12 pm
Central Newfoundland Labour Council

Corner Brook
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
25 Main Street, Corner Brook
5 pm
Corner Brook and District Labour Council

Labrador City
United Steel Workers 5795 Hall
105 Hudson Drive, Labrador City
4 pm
Labrador West District Labour Council

Materials can be ordered at


CUPE makes submission to the Newfoundland and Labrador automobile insurance system review

creynolds News Release, Report

CUPE Newfoundland Labrador welcomes the opportunity to participate in Phase II of the comprehensive review of the province’s automobile insurance system that has been undertaken by the Public Utilities Board in Newfoundland and Labrador. The union has made a submission to the review.

“Premiums for automobile insurance in Newfoundland and Labrador are among the highest in the country,” says Wayne Lucas, CUPE NL president. “The provincial government requires drivers to purchase automobile insurance. Therefore, it must make sure that costs are reasonable and benefits are fair.”

A small number of companies have a stranglehold on the automobile insurance market in the province, leading to higher rates and reduced benefits. Long-established public automobile insurance companies in British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan offer good insurance products at lower premiums and generate capital to re-invest in their respective provinces.

“There are ample experiences in other jurisdictions to help create a ‘made-in-Newfoundland-Labrador’, full-service system that will meet the vehicle insurance needs of the people of our province,” says Lucas.

CUPE NL supports the development of a publicly owned, full service, non-profit automobile insurance system to deliver comprehensive, no-fault insurance to all licensed drivers in the province, including private passenger drivers, independent commercial owner-operators and fleet company drivers (such as trucking, courier, and taxi companies) at fair, non-discriminatory rates.


Photo by Shankar.S is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Osborne drops the ball in bargaining

creynolds Crossroads, News Release

St. John’s – Representatives of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Newfoundland and Labrador Division, say Minister of Finance Tom Osborne is attempting to recover after dropping the ball in negotiations, landing himself in disputes of his own making.

“The ‘spotlight’ that Minister Osborne referenced yesterday was created by the minister himself,” says Brian Farewell, CUPE national representative. “He negotiated a tentative agreement with another bargaining agent and afterward he reacted without thinking when faced with publicity from the business community.”

The minister then decided to go back to the other bargaining agent and request a “sidebar” letter, confirming the fact that the no-layoff clause would not carry over into any subsequent agreement.

“CUPE is not seeking changes to the no-layoff language. We have already agreed to the no-layoff language,” says Farewell. “In addition, we have given the minister a side-bar comfort letter concerning the no-layoff clause.”

The minister, in front of five CUPE bargaining committee agents, confirmed that CUPE’s letter relieved any concerns or anxieties he had concerning the no-layoff clause rolling over into subsequent agreements. He also candidly admitted that he didn’t expect CUPE to agree to the other side-bar letter.

“It is perplexing to CUPE that our sidebar letter is not acceptable. Mr. Osborne is either not understanding the issue or attempting to deceive the public. Neither scenario is acceptable,” says Farwell.

“We will not jeopardize all our efforts made in collective bargaining since we became a voice for workers in this province 55 years ago, says CUPE NL President Wayne Lucas. “Our priority is protecting our members. As it should be.”

CUPE Atlantic Annual Weeklong School 2018

creynolds Article, Workshop

May 6 to 11, 2018

The Atlantic Region’s 33rd Annual Weeklong School will take place at the Inverary Resort in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The cost for this year’s weeklong school (including registration fee, accommodation and meals) is $900.00 per participant – double room occupancy; and $1,200.00 per person – single room occupancy.

As in previous years, there are scholarships available to members in both provinces and you are encouraged to apply as per the information contained in the brochure.

We encourage each local to make your selection as early as possible and return your registration form along with your post-dated cheque to avoid disappointment.

Once a maximum of 20-24 participants for each workshop have been registered, no further registrations will be accepted but you may choose to go on the wait list for that workshop or select an alternate workshop.

The deadline for registration and payment to be received at the Atlantic Regional Office is April 27, 2018. If payment is not received by April 27, 2018, those respective registrants will be removed, the registration list for each workshop finalized and those registrants on the waiting lists will be notified whether space is available.

When selecting participants for the school, please consider those who are prepared to take an active role in this learning experience and who will abide by the rules and guidelines for conduct and attendance.

Please consider members who:

  • actively participate in your Local
  • are willing to be active but could benefit from additional training
  • are willing to share this knowledge with the Local membership and Executive when he/she returns

Should there be any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at the Atlantic Regional Office (902) 455-4180.


Please post-date your registration cheques for May 12, 2018. Registration cheques are not processed until the weeklong school has concluded.

Make cheque payable to the Canadian Union of Public Employees and forward to the Registrar at the Atlantic Regional Office before the deadline of April 27, 2018 to:

Lynn McDougall
Union Development Representative
CUPE Atlantic Regional Office
271 Brownlow Avenue
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1W6

Refund Policy

Full refund up to April 27, 2018

No refund after April 27, 2018           


#1 – Mental Health in the Workplace: A union perspective

Officially, mental illness affects 1 in 5 people in Canada. But we know that it touches every one of us in different ways throughout our lives. What does this mean for us as workers and Union activists? How can we support members dealing with mental illness, and how can we hold employers to account, ensuring that our workplaces promote mental wellness? As union activists we have a particular interest in promoting positive workplace culture that supports people living with mental illness and promotes wellness for all of us.

This workshop is designed for participants to:

  • Gain a better understanding of mental health issues
  • Learn about stigma and how to challenge stereotypes about mental health
  • Explore the employer role: providing safe and supportive workplaces; and, reducing the risk of mental injury
  • Explore the Union’s role: educating the membership; and, accommodating workers with mental illness
  • Learn about supports and resources for people living with mental health issues
  • Build skills to support and educate one another to make our unions and our workplaces mentally healthy.

Requirement: Please bring any contact information for crisis and counselling services in your area.

#2 – Media Training

Are you a spokesperson for your local? Do you want to attract media attention, and increase public awareness to support local bargaining or an event? Please join us for our weeklong media training and message development workshop!

Participants will learn how can the media outreach can benefit your local in getting messages out. Each participant will receive “on-air” practice with feedback, as well as training and tips for writing messages and developing a media relations plan.

During the workshop, you will learn:

  • Basic principles of good communications and a media relations plan
  • Recognize the elements of great media messages
  • Create memorable stories, messages and sound bites
  • Understand the best practices of working with the media
  • Identify your target audience
  • Interview for print, radio, and television with confidence
  • Tips about remaining “on message” and how to answer the tough questions
  • Writing effective letters to the editor to submit to newspapers
  • Supporting your communications activities with social media

Who Should Attend?

This workshop is ideally suited for spokespersons for local unions, divisions or sector committees.


Participants must already be familiar with using their laptop and smartphone. They must also be active on personal Facebook and/or Twitter.

Please note: This workshop will not include an introduction to social media for beginners.

Requirement: Please bring all your devices including a laptop, tablet and/or smartphone.

#3 – Local Executive Training (LET)

The Local Executive Training series was developed to aid local executives toward functioning at their very best. This weeklong will include the following LET workshops:  Leadership Basics, Leading as a Team, Conflict-Ready Executives, Financial Essentials and, Strategic Planning.

We will:

  • Examine the roles and responsibilities of the elected officers and how they intersect/interact
  • Explore how we work in teams, and how to balance our leadership styles to engage each other, the membership and work effectively across diversity
  • Ask ourselves Who am I as a leader? Who are we as a local union? Who do we want to be?
  • Explore how you can use the power of your elected position to build power in the union, create space for more members to get involved
  • Explore the value of conflict for effective groups; how our beliefs about conflict shape how we respond; the kinds of conflict Local Executive struggle with most; and, productive ways to resolve conflict
  • Understand the essentials of Local Union finances, including the role of finances in strategic planning
  • Explore strategic planning tools as methods for problem-solving: from managing the relationship with the employer to communicating with members to expanding the Executive’s ability to build capacity and activism…it all starts with a plan! Explore how to set achievable and measurable goals for your Local Executive and your Local Union.

#4 – Bargaining

We will examine and experience bargaining from beginning to end. We will:

  • Review the bargaining process and the obligations of the Local Union Bargaining Team
  • Prepare the team and the membership for a round of bargaining
  • Go to the table and hopefully get a deal!
  • Conduct a Bargaining Post Mortem
  • Examine how strategic planning, including communication strategies, can assist a Bargaining Team in managing their own, and the memberships’ expectations

Click here to register.  

Download a copy of 2018 weeklong brochure, including registration information, course descriptions, agenda and scholarship application forms.