This is a must see.” VERY POWERFUL”
On behalf of the over three million members of the Canadian Labour Congress, I extend my deepest condolences to the victims, friends, coworkers and families of those who were targeted in yesterday’s terrifying van attack in my hometown of Toronto.
While it may take some time to uncover the motivation behind this heinous act of violence, we can take comfort in the incredible outpouring of support for the families of the 10 deceased and numerous others who were injured in Monday’s assault.
Our thanks go to the courageous first responders who played such a significant role in bringing order, safety and support to a very chaotic downtown crime scene.
Our hearts are with the people of Toronto as they mourn the loss of the innocent victims to this tragedy.
Our actions, as they should, express love in the face of violence.
Ontario Improving Apprenticeship System to Prepare Skilled Workforce for In-Demand Jobs
Province Releases Apprenticeship Strategy
Ontario is ensuring that the apprenticeship system meets the changing demands of the economy by giving apprentices the skills they need to succeed and providing employers with the talent they need to thrive.
Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, was joined by Ann Hoggarth, MPP for Barrie, at the United Association in Barrie today to release Ontario’s new Apprenticeship Strategy.
The province is improving the apprenticeship system by building on its current strengths. The goal is to develop a system that provides end-to-end supports for apprentices and employers and responds to the needs of a changing economy and workforce.
The multi-year strategy will:
- Create better incentives for employers to train and retain apprentices by transforming the existing Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit into the Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers
- Promote apprenticeship as a valuable postsecondary pathway and help individuals make informed decisions about their career options by providing valuable information about different careers leading from an apprenticeship through Ontario’s labour market website
- Update the apprenticeship system through digital enhancements, including a simplified online registration process
- Develop recommendations on how to ensure students in the K-12 system are prepared for, exposed to and aware of career opportunities in the skilled trades
- Enhance services that support apprentices to begin and complete their training, including increasing the participation of young people and underrepresented groups in the skilled trades.
Improving the apprenticeship system is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
On 1 November, 2016, 29 workers were killed and several more injured while dismantling an oil tanker at Pakistan’s Gadani shipbreaking yard. Speakers at a seminar on the industry, organized by IndustriALL affiliate the National Trade Union Federation in Karachi on 21 April, said that the government does not appear to have learnt any lessons from the tragedy.
In an industry often called the most dangerous in the world, the Gadani shipbreaking yard in Pakistan is among the worst. The unions say that failure to comply with internationally accepted labour standards and criminal negligence by the Pakistani government, employers exploiting labour rights, risking workers’ lives, is resulting in a decline. The government has given employers and contractors a license to kill the workers, when despite all the casualties in the industry, no one is prosecuted. According to the unions, there is an urgent need to implement labour standards in line with ILO conventions, South Asian and Turkish shipbreaking industries’ guidelines and the Hong Kong Convention.
At Gadani, thousands work in inhumane conditions with no safety measures. As a result, every day, workers are injured for life or even die. Instead, the government has turned a deaf ear to workers’ rights, health and safety, leading to scores of accidents being unreported. Workers have been deprived of their constitutional and legal rights to obtain fair wages and medical cover.
Speaking at the seminar, IndustriALL affiliate NTUF deputy general secretary Nasir Mansoor said that the shipbreaking industry earns billions of rupees to the federal and provincial governments, employs thousands of workers directly and indirectly and caters for up to 30 per cent the country’s iron needs:
“But because of the governments’ negligence, the industry is deteriorating with devastating results. A lot of iron now needs to be imported to the country, and downstream industries with businesses linked to shipbreaking employing more than two million people, face an uncertain future.
“Similar industries across the world have managed to change after implementing labour rights and standards according to international conventions. In Alang, India, they have started to implement a shipbreaking code after a decision from the Supreme Court, and the accidents and casualties have been considerably reduced. In its turn, this has helped Alang become the largest shipbreaking industry in the world with 60,000 directly employed workers.”
Once one of the leading ship breaking industries in the world, employing around 35,000 workers, there are today around 10,000 people working there, a number which may decline even further.
Bashir Mehmoodani, president of Ship Breaking Workers Union, Gadani, said that the government, other authorities and employers should take real measures to save the industry from closure:
“There should be serious consultation with trade unions and workers’ representatives to ensure labour rights.”