In November, an additional 24,000 jobs were added to the Canadian
workforce in the manufacturing industry. The 24,000 jobs account for
44% of the total job increase for that month. These increasing
numbers, mostly in Quebec and Ontario, are good news and should
present good organizing opportunities for IBEW Local Unions.
Municipalities in Canada have issued a total of $26.4 billion
worth of housing building permits for the first 10 months of 2003.
That figure represents more than 60% of the construction dollar in
Canada. There are a couple of areas that have done an exceptional
job of organizing the residential sector. However, even including
those success stories, the IBEW in Canada only represents about 1.5%
of the electrical construction market in the residential sector. We
need to step outside the box to successfully organize this almost
totally untapped resource.
COMET Training and Organizing Dates for your Calendar
Comet Train the Trainer
On Friday, December 19th we faxed and mailed notices to all local
unions with (i) and (o) jurisdiction that there will be six COMET
Train the Trainer Courses facilitated across Canada between February
and May. The location and dates of the courses are: Victoria, BC,
February 10, 11, 12, 13; Toronto, ON, February 16, 17, 18, 19;
Halifax, NS, March 1, 2, 3, 4; Edmonton, AB, March 30, 31, April 1,
2; Davidson, SK, April 19, 20, 21, 22; Winnipeg, MB, May 17, 18, 19,
20. As we said in the notice, the participants are not restricted to
any one location. There has been a lot of interest expressed in
these courses; consequently we are expecting good registration.
Although the courses are geared towards the construction
industry, we welcome participation from other branches of the IBEW.
We are in the process of arranging two Organizing Conferences for
2004. The Conferences will take the place of our annual Winter
School and are scheduled for April 19, 20, 21 and 22 in Ottawa and
June 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Kelowna. The Conferences will be
training-based with emphasis on the "how to" for both industrial and
construction. Please mark your calendars and more information will
be provided in the New Year.
Local 37 Organizes Rogers Cable Group
On December 10, 2003, IBEW Local 37, Fredericton, New Brunswick,
won the certification vote to represent 34 employees of Rogers Cable
Inc. in the Province of New Brunswick.
This group of employees is the inside staff performing the
production and technical programming support work at various
locations throughout the province in both French and English for
This successful campaign was accomplished by a strong internal
voluntary organizing committee, as well as L.U. 37 Assistant
Business Manager, Larry Calhoun, L.U. 37 Business Agent Claude
Richard, Regional Organizer Gordon Keeling and International
Representative Brian Matheson.
Since there are Rogers Cable Groups all across this large
country, and we now know they can be organized, it makes for a great
target for other Locals to put on their organizing list.
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
This is a federal act that covers the collection, use or
disclosure of personal information in the course of any commercial
activities in federally regulated private sector organizations. This
federal legislation was approved on April 13, 2000 and came into
effect in stages.
On January 1, 2004, this law will extend to every organization
conducting commercial activities in Canada. All unions (public and
private) will become subject to the legislation and will have legal
obligations to protect the privacy of individuals about whom they
Quebec has had private sector privacy legislation in place for
over a decade. British Columbia introduced Personal Information
Protection Act (PIPA) legislation on April 30, 2003. Alberta’s "PIPA"
was introduced in Alberta Legislature on May 15, 2003. Other
provinces will be subject either to the PIPED Act or a
substantially similar provincial one. The federal act stipulates
that the Governor in Council will make the determination that the
legislation of a province is substantially similar.
Any information collected by a union must be ‘collected’ based on
reasonableness and circumstances. Personal information is
information, recorded or not, about an identifiable individual.
Personal information includes opinions of witnesses in a grievance
procedure and access to employee’s names in an organizing drive. The
union’s constitution, bylaws, policies, disciplinary hearings and
decision-making results are also subject to the Act. Unions will
have to have policies regarding their information collection,
including purpose for the information and record keeping practices.
The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has produced a guide so that
organizations, including unions, can understand what they must do to
comply with PIPEDA. The guide, called "Your Privacy
Responsibilities: Guide for Businesses and Organizations to Canada’s
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act", is
available online at:
will find more on the Act (Privacy Act) online at
For your information, the First District is in the process of
developing a course that can be delivered to Local Union Officers so
that our Local Unions will be aware of the implications and
responsibilities of the Act.
Statistics Canada has set the poverty line for a single person
living in a city at $18,371 per year. The minimum hourly wage,
established by the Provinces and Territories, from top dollar to the
bottom dollar are: Nunavut - $8.50, NWT - $8.25, British Columbia -
$8.00, Quebec - $7.30, Yukon - $7.20, Ontario - $7.15, Manitoba -
$7.00, Saskatchewan - $6.65, Prince Edward Island - $6.50, New
Brunswick - $6.00, Newfoundland and Labrador – $6.00, and Alberta -
$5.90. Do the math. It doesn’t seem like governments are really that
concerned about people and dignity. I guess we need unions after
Application for Membership Form 107 and Beneficiary Designation
Form 107 has been revised to exclude questions of race, gender,
political status and voting status. Form 124 has been revised so
that it applies to common-law and same sex spouses. These forms have
been updated to comply with Canadian laws and are available on the
Membership Based Unions versus Administrative Type Unions
Local 636 held their annual unit chairperson seminar in November,
which was attended by 90 unit leaders from across Ontario. In
addition to the comments made by IVP Flemming and IR Routliff, Rocky
Clarke, the IBEW’s Director of the Professional and Industrial
Membership Development Department, provided a thought provoking
discussion. His presentation centered on his observations that the
unions of today are administrative type unions and that we need to
move towards a membership based union. Highlights from his
"Administrative Unionism", defined
Administrative union - An organizational structure which exists
to serve the needs of its members through protection of existing
membership status and benefits. An administrative union exists to
solve members’ problems for them.
"Membership-based Unionism" defined
A membership-based union, as defined by our forebears, allocates
necessary resources, both human and financial to insure the success
of the union as an entity, thereby increasing bargaining strength
and ultimately the financial and social success of our membership.
The membership-based union exists to solve membership problems with