Grey Bruce Labour Council: activism and social responsibility recognized in a time of uncertainty

Like so many, COVID-19 and its global impacts have forced the committed activists of the Grey Bruce Labour Council to hold their annual Labour Activist and Health and Safety Activist awards celebration virtually. While still contributing their expertise and activism in the workplace, the work to celebrate and extend this expertise and activism to help as many people as possible does not take a rest.

Labour Council VP for Grey County, Chris Stephen, provides a description of activism. “No off switch” is often the best way to describe a health and safety advocate or labour activist. This year the labour council has chosen also to recognize Bruce Power with a special recognition award for their efforts to meet and even exceed their value of Social Responsibility.

Current Grey Bruce Labour Council President and OSSTF member, Kevin Smith, having presided over a few activist celebrations, says he is “always proud of the work that the members of the Labour Council undertake and even more proud of the lives improved and in the context of health and safety, most assuredly saved, by the labour council delegates and friends of the labour council. Commitment under normal circumstances barely touches the surface, but to continue the work that must be done in the midst of a global pandemic defies description,” adds Kevin.

Always a champion of celebrating the work of the council, past president and current council VP for Bruce County, Dave Trumble, “believes that in a time of uncertainty, such as that presented to us today, it is all the more reason to recognize and celebrate those that persist and improve the workplace and the community in spite of this uncertainty.” Trumble often quotes an admired leader when he says, “that if we don’t celebrate our successes, we risk our future successes.”

On November 23rd, 2020, the Grey Bruce Labour Council was pleased and proud to announce their 2020 award winners:

  • Claire Wardlow-Barnard, Bruce Grey OECTA, as the Health and Safety Activist of the year and
  • Theresa O’Connor, OPSEU, as the Labour Activist of the Year.

In addition, council executive member, Anna Morrison, announced, “Bruce Power is being awarded a Labour Council Special Recognition Award for their profoundly critical contributions to the community, province and nation to provide aid and comfort to so many during the COVID-19 crisis.”

A tradition of the activist dinner is a look back over the previous year. Labour Council, treasurer, Gord Cale, pointed to a number of activities that have continued in spite of the pandemic. Perhaps, most proudly, Gord pointed out that, “We have continued to operate successfully due to the diligence and efforts of all at the labour council table, but of particular note is the way that labour council president, Kevin Smith, has gone above and beyond what could be expected in difficult times let alone a global health crisis.”

Cale also noted the awesome support from our Canadian Labour Congress Staff, Gogi Bhandal and Workers’ Heath and Safety Centre staff, Kim Marshall and all our friends and allies.

The Grey Bruce Labour Council is the voice of workers in our region.