“This partnership is historic, but it’s not out of the blue. We’ve been working hard to ensure Indigenous people have a powerful voice in our union and in our communities." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (12 July 2017) — The President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) and the Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation have signed an historic agreement to work together to ensure justice for First Nations.
Partnership to continue work on Truth and Reconcilliation recommendations
“This partnership recognizes the sovereignty and Treaty rights of all First Nations communities,” says Chief R. Stacey Laforme, Mississaugas of the New Credit. “Through its actions, OPSEU/NUPGE has proven itself as a respectful partner to First Nations communities and we’ll be proud to work with them.”
The agreement commits the First Nation and the union to work together to enact the 94 Calls to Action contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Report and to uphold the principles included in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
“This partnership is historic, but it’s not out of the blue. We’ve been working hard to ensure Indigenous people have a powerful voice in our union and in our communities,” says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President, pointing out that paramedics with Beausoleil First Nation on Christian Island in Simcoe County voted last week to join OPSEU/NUPGE.
“We’re proving ourselves to be the union of choice for Indigenous workers,” says Thomas.
More actions taken following OPSEU's first biennial Indigenous Conference
The partnership between OPSEU/NUPGE and the Mississaugas of the New Credit is one of the many initiatives that have grown out of the first biennial OPSEU Indigenous Conference held last fall in Cornwall, ON. The conference was a true partnership between the union's Indigenous Circle and the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne. It joins other OPSEU/NUPGE Truth and Reconciliation initiatives that include
- the Indigenous Mobilization Team (IMT), which is 3 Indigenous OPSEU/NUPGE members working full-time to support communities and First Nations across the province in their fight for justice in campaigns for “Sixties Scoop” survivors, clean drinking water for Indigenous communities, and Gladue Courts and reform of the criminal justice system.
- a campaign to make June 21 a statutory holiday in Ontario and across Canada.
- a partnership with Food Share Toronto to work with northern and remote Indigenous communities to establish their own food markets to provide healthy and affordable food.
- participation in the 2017 World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education and a commitment to international Indigenous Solidarity.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE