Being able to take time away from work for the other things that matter in life is important. It's part of a work-life balance that makes for a healthy and productive workforce – and better lives for everyone. Should Canadians get more vacation time than the two to three weeks provided by labour standards today? We think so. That’s why the labour movement negotiates for paid vacation time that grows over time, and why the labour movement works to ensure everyone gets the time off they’ve earned. Learn More

In Canada, a low-wage job is one that pays $13.60/hour or less (as of 2012). Last year, 1.4 million men and two million women worked at jobs like this, with the minimum wage set around $10/hour. And these are not part-time or occasional jobs: 55% of low-wage earners work for large enterprises with 100 or more employees. As well, the income gap between the rich and the poor in Canada is well above the average for similar countries. Today, Canada’s business elite make on average 189 times more than the average Canadian wage; it was only 105 times more just 15 years ago. Negotiating with employers and lobbying governments to ensure fair wages for everyone – including health benefits – is more important than it’s ever been. Learn More

Getting paid less because you’re not related to the boss isn’t fair. Neither is getting paid less because of your gender, race or age. The labour movement has been relentless on this issue and continues to negotiate forcefully with employers and lobby governments to deal with pay discrimination, low wages and barriers that stop people from working to their full potential (such as supports for people with disabilities and access to affordable child care for new parents). Did you know that, in 2011, women in Canada earned 72% of what men did for the same amount of work? Thanks to the labour movement, this pay gap is already much smaller for women in unions, but income equality for all working women is the ultimate goal. Learn More

For generations, people faced the prospect of either working until they died or ending their lives in poverty because they were too ill or too old to work any more. But with the help of the labour movement, people were able to negotiate pension plans at work, setting aside part of their wages along with contributions from their employers. Today, about 1/3 of Canadian workers have a workplace pension plan to help them retire with dignity. And because not every workplace has such a plan, the labour movement also campaigned for public pensions for all Canadians – such as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), which the movement is still working hard to improve for all workers. Learn More

The labour movement has given people the right to put their health and safety first when they go to work. Today, workers can demand to know whether the chemicals used in their workplaces are safe, and work knowing there’s a way to get to safety in the event of an emergency. Workers are protected if they refuse work that is not safe and, thanks to Workers' Compensation, they don’t need to hire a lawyer or buy insurance to recover wages lost due to a workplace injury. It’s still a fact that nearly five Canadians die every work day because of something that happened at work – from an injury, work-related cancer, workplace violence or unsafe equipment. That’s why the labour movement still lobbies hard for better laws to protect everyone. Learn More

Today, Canada’s workforce is made up of both women and men. Gone are the days when one income was enough to raise a family. The labour movement’s demands that employers provide paid leave for new mothers resulted in the creation of “maternity leave benefits” from the federal government in 1971. Ten years later, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers went on strike to win additional weeks of paid maternity leave for their members. Now, working parents can share 35 weeks of parental leave through the EI program. And as parental leave continues to evolve, the labour movement continues to negotiate with employers and push governments to support working parents. Learn More