Government of Canada promotes labour rights and better working conditions in Mexico

News release

December 15, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), which came into force on July 1, 2020, includes progressive and enforceable labour provisions that will help improve working conditions throughout North America and ensure a level playing field for Canadian workers and businesses. As part of this work, the Government of Canada has committed to supporting Mexico’s labour reform by sharing knowledge and resources between governments as well as helping Mexican workers build the capacity to effectively exercise their labour rights.

Today, the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., announced funding of $9.4 million for two worker-focused projects that will strengthen and support the labour movement in Mexico. Through these projects, key Canadian labour organizations will share their expertise and participate actively in Mexico’s labour reform.

The first project, implemented by Unifor, will support the establishment of local action centres in six Mexican states, coordinated through a national action centre based in Mexico City. These action centres will serve as important community-oriented resource sites, delivering gender-responsive training, rights awareness and advocacy services to workers and trade unions throughout Mexico looking to improve working conditions in export-dependent industries.

The second project will be implemented by the Steelworkers Humanity Fund on behalf of the Canadian Labour Congress, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, United Steelworkers and the Centre international de solidarité ouvrière. The project will provide education programs to unionized and non-unionized workers on defending labour rights. As a result, workers will be equipped to navigate Mexico’s new labour justice system including the conciliation and registration boards and labour courts. Additionally, the education programs will address gender equality, violence against workers, and occupational health and safety.

Unifor and the Steelworkers Humanity Fund are working closely with a number of grassroots labour organizations in Mexico to carry out project activities. Additional project proposals will be developed in the near future to further support CUSMA’s implementation.

The Government of Canada is committed to working with its partners to create work environments that are fair, safe and equitable across North America.

Quotes

“Every worker deserves a safe and healthy work environment where their rights are respected. These projects will help to advance labour rights in Mexico to the benefit of all workers in North America by working with partners in the Canadian labour movement.”

– Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.

“Funding provided for this capacity building project will enable us and the project’s Mexican organizations to provide workers with the knowledge and tools to exercise their labour rights under Mexico’s labour reform agenda. We welcome this important and unique opportunity to contribute to widening the space for independent, democratic trade unions and workers’ organizations.”

– Bea Bruske, President, Canadian Labour Congress

“Unifor stands in solidarity with Mexican workers against the use of retaliatory measures and intimidation by corporations and company-controlled unions to suppress rights and deflate wages. These new action centres will help empower workers to navigate new trade provisions and unite to raise standards, free from reprisal.”

  – Jerry Dias, Unifor National President 

Associated links

Contacts

For media inquiries, please contact:

Daniel Pollak
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.
343-551-7558
daniel.pollak@labour-travail.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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