From the Desk of the President: July 2023

Happy Summer everyone. I hope that you have been able to enjoy the warm weather and spend some personal time with your families and loved ones. Here at HSA, the months of May and June following HSA’s 52nd Annual Convention have been busy as we prepare for a fall schedule that is filled with activity. You’ll see a post-convention report elsewhere in this bulletin.

Board Meetings

The Board of Directors has already met three times since Convention: in May, June, and July. At a brief meeting immediately following convention, the board elected Mandi Ayers (Region 10) as Vice-President, and Jing-Yi Ng (Region 3) as Secretary-Treasurer. At that meeting, board members also elected chairs for each of the union’s committees.

We welcomed new Directors Nicole McIntosh (Region 6) and Kathy Anderson (Region 9) to the Board who were acclaimed in June by-elections. At our meetings, we addressed the outstanding resolutions from Convention, coordinated committee work to help implement and track progress on the resolutions passed by delegates to help set priorities for the coming year, discussed issues related to retroactive pay and pay delays under the new contracts, and discussed the timeline for developing a renewed strategic plan for the union, among many other things. 

I am excited to work with our new Board of Directors, which includes members from the Community Social Services, and Nurses’ Bargaining Associations, as well as the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association. We will have lots of diverse views and perspectives as your board represent each of your regions at the Board, and include representation from acute and community health care, as well as the child development sector. Additionally, our board members come to the table with lived experience as BIPOC, non-binary, and young workers. Please reach out to your Board member if you have questions or a perspective to share.

Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Convention

In May, the members of the Board of Directors, along with two members of the Young Workers Advisory Group, made up HSA’s delegation to the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Convention, which occurs once every 3 years. We were also joined by three HSA members who sit on the executive of their respective labour councils. This Convention was attended by 2000 delegates from unions from across Canada. We debated many issues including rising inflation, climate change, truth and reconciliation, combatting the rise of the far-right, and the human resources crisis in health care as well as in the child care sector, and many other topics. Delegates re-elected Bea Bruske as CLC President. Lily Chang returned for a second terms as Secretary Treasurer, as did Executive Vice-Presidents Siobhan Vipond and Larry Rousseau.

Through the CLC, HSA continues to be a voice at the national level, thanks in part to our delegates who participated in debate at convention. Region 8 Director Heath McLeod, Region 7 Director Sarah Kooner, and Region 10 Member-at-Large and North Central Labour Council delegate Candis Johnson spoke to a number of important issues during debate. It was also an opportunity to build relationships with other unions and their members to share and exchange ideas from groups like young workers, workers of colour, or workers in health care and community social services, tackling challenges of that working people like us face every day in other provinces across the country.

In addition to the CLC Convention, HSA Secretary-Treasurer Jing-Yi Ng and I participated in one of the largest CLC lobby days on Parliament Hill, joining with labour activists from across the country to speak to Members of Parliament on a range of issues, including the care economy and climate action. 

Regional Meetings

In the Fall, HSA will hold regional meetings, where you will have the opportunity to hear from your Regional Director and other members in your region to discuss common issues.

Dates and locations of each regional meeting have been confirmed, and you can find them here. Registration for the meetings will open over the summer. While lead stewards are automatically entitled to attend the Regional Meetings, other members are encouraged to attend. If you would like to be elected as a delegate to your local Regional Meeting, get in touch with your Lead Steward to ensure a meeting is held to elect representatives to your Regional Meeting. You can find contact information for Lead Stewards on the HSA website.

This year, we will be focusing on hearing from members about your priorities for the union for the coming three to five years as we work to develop a Strategic Plan to see us through to 2030.

Finally, I’d like to encourage you to reflect upon the recent erosion of rights that we have all fought for over the last several decades. From attacks on women’s reproductive rights and striking down of affirmative action in the US Supreme Court, increasing racism against Indigenous people or other racialized groups, to the threats against the trans people and the queer community that we see within our own province. Our homes and workplaces are stronger when we all stand up and protect the rights of everyone: to live, to love, to make choices for themselves and to feel safe to contribute to our society in their own way.

I encourage you to take one action this summer to show support for these communities in a positive manner. While our strength lies in solidarity, there are many simple ways that we can take an individual act to make our world a more inclusive and safe place.

I look forward to seeing many of you this fall.