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Society Council turned eye to the future at 2018 convention

November 28, 2018

One hundred fifty Society Council Delegates and observers met in downtown Toronto for the union’s 2018 annual convention. Guided by the theme An Eye Toward the Future, the Society’s highest delegated decision-making body set the union’s strategic direction, debated policy, and heard from labour and industry leaders.

All background material and reports for the November 4-5 meeting are available in the Members Portal at

Meeting less than six months after the Doug Ford-led Progressive Conservative government swept to power, a key focus of the Council meeting was how to advance Society members’ interests in challenging political times. Council heard from experts in the field that members’ success will largely be determined by the union’s ability to leverage the full power of the Society’s 8,000 members and connections to labour and community allies to defend workplace rights, the ability to represent members, pensions and more.

Leveraging the full power of the membership is aligned to the work the Society’s senior leadership has undertaken with the Go, Listen, Build member engagement program. In his address to Council, President Scott Travers highlighted how that program will be supported by the new Society web site and a new mobile app that is currently in beta testing at the Bruce Power Local. Travers also emphasized the importance of continuing to organize new groups of professionals to improve standards of professional work and strengthen the Society’s ability to advocate for existing members.

As part of the Principal Officer election, an all candidates meeting was held during Council for the two contested positions: president and executive vice president. This portion of the meeting was recorded and is available to members at


Society Council Speakers

  • Paul Shearon: President, IFPTE Spoke to the need for engaging, organizing and mobilizing members to address political challenges.
  • Hassan Yussuff: President, Canadian Labour Congress Highlighted labour movement’s victories on pay equity, ending asbestos use and CPP improvements. Brought attention to the next big campaign: universal, public pharmacare for all.
  • Matthew Biggs: Secretary-Treasurer, IFPTE Shared with members how IFPTE is protecting members’ rights in light of the corporatist political agendas of politicians like Doug Ford and Donald Trump.
  • Panel discussion: Sheila Block (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives), Steven Barrett (Goldblatt LLP), Michal Hay (Progress Toronto) and Pam Frache ($15 and Fairness): How to approach the challenges of the Ford government from legal, policy and organizing perspectives.
  • Trish Hennessy: Ontario Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Shared findings of a Society-sponsored research report on precarious work among professionals.
  • John Cartwright: President, Toronto & York Region Labour Council Educated delegates on the local history of our movement and solidarity work in Toronto to stop discrimination.
  • David Butters: President & CEO, Association of Power Producers of Ontario Looked at the future of distribution and generation as demand grows through electrification of cars and more.
  • Fred Hahn: President, CUPE Ontario Spoke about how union work includes advocacy for and with communities, and the enduring impact of our Keep Hydro Public campaign.
  • Doly Begum: MPP and NDP Critic for Early Learning; former Society Research Officer Thanked Society for support, pledged to work together, and spoke on opportunities for new Canadians.
  • Sara Singh: Deputy Leader, Ontario NDP; Critic for Attorney General Spoke of the essential role unions play in democracy and of how the NDP will defend workers’ rights.

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