Canadian Congress of Labour

The Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL) was founded in 1940 and merged with Trades and Labour Congress of Canada (TLC) to form the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in 1956.

Full nameCanadian Congress of Labor
Native nameCongrès canadien du travail
Date dissolved1956
Federation mergerCanadian Labour Congress
Head unionCongress of Industrial Organizations
AffiliationCo-operative Commonwealth Federation, Industrial unionism
Key peopleCharles Millard


In 1939, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) supporters were expelled from the TLC, due to the demands of the American-based American Federation of Labor (AFL).[1] This split had to do with the CIO unionizing industrial trades, and the AFL organizing craft trades.[1] The expelled unions included the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, now called the United Steelworkers (USW); United Auto Workers of America, now the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW); and the United Mine Workers (UMWA). They negotiated with the All-Canadian Congress of Labour and founded the Canadian Congress of Labour in 1940 to rival the TLC.[1] At its founding, it had 100,000 members, and grew to 250,000 by 1943.[1]

The Congress' founding executive included Aaron Mosher (Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Employees), Silby Barrett, Sol Spivak, and Charles Millard (Steelworkers). They were all members of the social democratic Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) political party. They were united in the belief that labour should be involved in politics.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Caplan 1973, p. 91.


  • Caplan, Gerarld (1973). The Dilemma of Canadian Socialism: The CCF in Ontario. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.
  • Horowitz, Gad (1968). Canadian Labour in Politics. University of Toronto Press.
1956 in Canada

Events from the year 1956 in Canada.

All-Canadian Congress of Labour

The All-Canadian Congress of Labour (ACCL) was a Canadian national labour confederation, which existed from 1926 to 1940.

It was founded in 1926 as a rival to the Trades and Labour Congress. It was headed by Aaron Roland Mosher. It included remnants of the One Big Union and had over 40,000 members. The ACCL was opposed to American interference in the Canadian labour movement. In 1929, the communist unions left the ACCL and formed the Workers' Unity League. In 1940, the ACCL merged with Canadian sections of the Congress of Industrial Organizations to form the Canadian Congress of Labour.

Bert Sears

Herbert Sydney "Bert" Sears (1907 – December 23, 1993) was an English-born politician in Saskatchewan, Canada. He served as mayor of Saskatoon from 1972 to 1976.Sears was born in Kent in 1907. His father emigrated to Saskatoon in 1910 where he ran a fish and chip shop, but at the start of World War I he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. On December 25, 1917, Sears and his mother reached Saskatoon where they were later reunited with his father.After completing his schooling, Sears began working at a bakery, where he became a member of a union. Joining the bakery's union was the beginning of his involvement in the labour movements of Saskatoon. In 1927, he married Mary Dubets with whom he had four sons. Sears was employed with Federated Co-op from 1944 until his retirement in 1967; he became regional warehouse manager in 1949. He also served as the second president of the Saskatoon board of the Canadian Congress of Labour. He married his second wife Phyllis after the death of Mary.Sears was a member of Saskatoon city council from 1951 to 1958 and again from 1964 to 1971. During his service on the council he was a member of various committees including engineering, parks, planning and board of trade. He succeeded Sidney Buckwold as mayor in which role he served from 1972 to 1976. During his mayorship the ward system of council election was reintroduced in Saskatoon. In recognition of his service to the community he was awarded the centennial medal in 1967. He died at the age of 86 and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.Sears Bay, Sears Crescent and Sears Place in Arbor Creek and Herbert S. Sears Park in Fairhaven were named in his honour.

Canadian Labour Congress

The Canadian Labour Congress, or CLC (French: Congrès du travail du Canada or CTC) is a national trade union centre, the central labour body in English Canada to which most Canadian labour unions are affiliated.

Charles Millard

Charles Hibbert (Charlie) Millard (August 25, 1896 - November 24, 1978) was a Canadian trade union activist and politician.

Claude Jodoin

Claude Jodoin (May 25, 1913 – March 1, 1975) was a Canadian trade unionist and politician. He served as the first president of the Canadian Labour Congress from 1956 to 1966.

Donald MacDonald (Nova Scotia politician)

Donald MacDonald, (September 12, 1909 – September 25, 1986) was a Canadian social democratic politician and trade unionist who led the Nova Scotia Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and was elected as a member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 1941. In 1968 he was elected President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

George Burt (Canada)

George Burt (17 August 1903 — 6 September 1988) was Canadian Director of the United Auto Workers (UAW/CAW) from 1939 to 1968.

His father was a brickmaker and active trade unionist. Burt worked as an apprentice plumber before getting a job on the General Motors assembly line in Oshawa, Ontario in 1929. Like many auto workers, his pay was so low that he was forced to go on welfare at times during the Great Depression. In 1937, the Congress of Industrial Organizations came to Canada to organize the Oshawa plant which went out on strike for 12 days in April forcing GM to recognize the union. Burt became treasurer of the newly formed UAW local 222. The local's president was Charles Millard who also served as Canadian director of the UAW. Millard was an anti-Communist and attempted to purge Communists and leftists from the union and promote the social democratic Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. A "unity caucus" of Communists, left wing CCFers and militants ran Burt as their candidate against Millard in 1939. Burt was elected Canadian director of the UAW and would remain in that position for almost thirty years. He would also serve as vice-president of the Canadian Congress of Labour and president of the Ontario Provincial Federation of Labour (1951–1953) a forerunner of the Ontario Federation of Labour.Under Burt's leadership, the Canadian UAW organized Ford and Chrysler. Burt was arrested once in 1940 for allegedly interfering with war production when he participated in a picket across the street from Windsor's Chrysler plant.In 1945, Burt was endorsed by both the Ontario Liberal Party and the Communist Labor-Progressive Party as one of a slate of three UAW "Liberal-Labour" candidates running in CCF held seats in Windsor in the Ontario provincial election but was defeated. It was not until December 1948 that the UAW fully endorsed the CCF.According to labour historian Sam Gindin, Burt supported the left when it was the dominant faction in the late 1930s and 1940s but, during the Cold War, moved away from the Communists and became a supporter of moderate UAW leader Walter Reuther.

In 1961 he was a member of the New Democratic Party's founding committee.

Mine Workers' Union of Canada

The Mine Workers' Union of Canada was a trade union in the mining sector in Canada. MWUC was affiliated to the Workers' Unity League, and lasted for approximately a decade.

Murray Cotterill

Murray Cotterill (June 27, 1913 – February 23, 1995) was a Canadian trade union activist and organizer for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF).

In the 1930s, Cotterill was one of the organisers of the Co-operative Commonwealth Youth Movement. In the 1940s he was a CCF municipal candidate in Toronto and, in 1942, ran for the leadership of the Ontario CCF, losing to Ted Jolliffe. He was also an aide to Charles Millard in organizing the Steel Workers Organizing Committee and was active in rooting out Communists in the fledgling Steelworkers union and was the union's public relations director for many years. Cotterill was also president of the Toronto Labour Council of the Canadian Congress of Labour (one of two labour councils in the city) in the late 1940s. He worked as a labour relations specialist for the Canadian Congress of Labour and its successor the Canadian Labour Congress and was for a time in the 1940s and 1950s the director of the CCL's national Political Action Committee, a position he used to encourage closer ties between the labour movement and the CCF. Cotterill was also the leading force in the OFL's Political Action Committee which helped create an informal alliance between the CCF and the labour movement that later led to the formation of the New Democratic Party as a formal CLC-CCF project.

In the 1963 provincial election he was the NDP's candidate in the suburban Toronto riding of Lakeshore losing to Progressive Conservative Alan Eagleson.

In late 1963, Cotterill was involved with what were described as "secret" negotiations with John Wintermeyer, outgoing leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and various federal Liberals in pursuit of co-operation between the two parties and even their eventual fusion. Cotterill was reportedly offered the vice-presidency of the Ontario Liberal Party but declined. The talks ended due to the opposition of Ontario NDP leader Donald C. MacDonald. Several leading Ontario Liberals also came out against the talks when they learned of them.From 1940 until his retirement in 1972, Cotterill worked as public relations director of the Canadian Steelworkers and was also an occasional columnist for the Toronto Star. He was a vocal opponent of the Waffle, a left-wing faction within the NDP in the early 1970s and called for the group to be disbanded or expelled from the party.In retirement, Cotterill moved to Saskatchewan and spent two years working for the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party government of Allan Blakeney.

Neil Reimer

Neil Reimer (July 3, 1921 – March 29, 2011) was an activist, trade unionist and politician in Canada.

Reimer attended the University of Saskatchewan, but left in 1942 at the age of 19 to work at the Consumers Co-operative Refinery in Regina, Saskatchewan. There he joined a Congress of Industrial Organizations union organizing drive. In 1950, he became an organizer for the CIO's Oil Workers International Union and was sent to Alberta to organize workers in that province's booming petrochemical industry.In 1951, Reimer became the Canadian director of the OWIU (which subsequently became the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Union) and served as the national director of the union and its successors until he retired in 1982. Under his stewardship, the union grew from fewer than 1,000 members to more than 20,000 by 1961. In 1981 the union gained independence from its American parent to become the Energy and Chemical Workers Union and, in 1992, merged with two other unions to become the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.Reimer was elected as a vice-president of the Canadian Congress of Labour in the 1950s and remained on the executive of it and its successor, the Canadian Labour Congress, until 1974.Reimer became president of the newly founded New Democratic Party of Alberta in 1962 and was elected its first leader in 1963. The NDP's predecessor, the Alberta CCF, had lost its remaining two seats in the 1959 provincial election and received only 4% of the vote. Under Reimer's leadership the NDP's share of the popular vote rose to 9% in the 1963 election and to nearly 16% in the 1967 election, but did not win any seats. Reimer resigned as NDP leader in 1968.

Reimer remained Canadian director of the OCAW throughout the 1960s and 1970s and became national director of the Energy and Chemical Workers Union when it was formed from the OCAW in 1981. He retired from the union's leadership in 1984. He then served as the president and later as secretary treasurer of the Alberta Council on Aging.His daughter, Janice Rhea Reimer, served as mayor of Edmonton from 1989 to 1995.

One Big Union (Canada)

The One Big Union (OBU) was a Canadian syndicalist trade union active primarily in the western part of the country. It was initiated formally in Calgary on June 4, 1919 but lost most of its members by 1922. It finally merged into the Canadian Labour Congress during 1956.

Ontario Federation of Labour

The Ontario Federation of Labour is a federation of labour unions in the Canadian province of Ontario. The original OFL was established by the Canadian Congress of Labour in 1944. It was merged with the rival Ontario Provincial Federation of Labour in 1957 (now considered the modern OFL's founding date), one year after the merger of the CCL and the Trades and Labour Congress (the OPFL's parent federation). It is now the provincial federation of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Elroy Robson was the original OFL's first president and William Sefton was its first secretary-treasurer.

Policy conventions are held every two years. Today, the federation represents 700,000 workers who belong to its affiliated trade unions.

Ottawa and District Labour Council

The Ottawa and District Labour Council or ODLC (French name Conseil du Travail d’Ottawa et du District or CTOD) is the central labour body for Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Its membership is union locals of national or international unions affiliated to the Canadian Labour Congress. The Ottawa & District Labour Council is one of the oldest Canadian labour organizations tracing its inception to the Ottawa Trades Council in 1872.

In 1957, with the merger of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada (TCL) and the Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL) to form the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) their two rival labour councils also merged. The Allied Trades and Labour Association (TLC) and the Ottawa-Hull Labour Council (CCL) merged to form the Ottawa and District Trades and Labour Council. It was not long after that the name was shortened to the Ottawa and District Labour Council.

No official records have survived prior to 1906 but it is known that the Council initiated the first official meeting of labour with a Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald in 1873. It took part in the formation of the first national central labour body, the Canadian Labour Union hosting its second convention in 1874. That same year the Council's President, Daniel John O'Donoghue, was elected to the Ontario Legislature, the first trade unionist elected to a legislature in Canada. The council disbanded in 1877 and reformed in 1889.

The records of the council which include minutes, reports, correspondence, files and yearbooks are on file at the National Archives of Canada dating from 1906. These records are open to the general public.

Robert Carlin

Robert Hugh Carlin (February 10, 1901 – October 22, 1991) was a Canadian labour union organizer and politician, who represented the electoral district of Sudbury in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1943 to 1948. He was a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (Ontario Section) (CCF).

Born in Buckingham, Quebec in 1901, Carlin moved to Cobalt in 1916 to work in the silver mines. He joined the Western Federation of Miners as a union representative, and was involved in the 1919 Cobalt Miners' Strike. He later began working at Teck Hughes in Kirkland Lake, but was fired in 1940 along with 36 other miners. He remained active as a union organizer, coordinating a major Labour Day demonstration against Teck Hughes in 1941.

He subsequently moved to Sudbury, where he became president of Mine Mill Local 598, and won election to the Legislative Assembly in the 1943 election and was re-elected in the 1945 election.

Following the 1945 election, the leadership of the CCF launched a purge of suspected Communists within the party and its supporters in the trade union movement attempted to eliminate suspected Communist influence in the union movement targeting, in particular, Mine Mill. National CCF secretary David Lewis and Charles Millard of the Canadian Congress of Labour decided to root the communists out of organized labour's decision-making bodies. Their first target was the CCF riding association in Sudbury, and its affiliated Mine Mill Local 598, even though the local was not under Communist control: out of 11,000 dues-paying members, very few were communists (less than 100). Over the next twenty years, a fierce battle was waged to take over Local 598 by Millard's United Steel Workers of America. Steel won.

Carlin was loyal to his union, Local 598, putting him in conflict with CCF establishment in both Toronto and Ottawa.Charles Millard, Ontario CCF leader Ted Jolliffe, and David Lewis did not directly accuse Carlin of being a communist. Instead, they attacked him for not dealing with the perceived problem of communists in the Sudbury Mine Mill local. Local 598 was built by both Communists and CCFers, with the CCFers firmly in control of the executive. Carlin's first loyalty was to the men and women who helped build Local 598, regardless of their political affiliation. This is what got him in trouble with Lewis and Jolliffe. So Lewis and Jolliffe made the case to expel him from the Ontario CCF caucus at a special meeting of the CCF executive and the legislative caucus in Toronto on April 13, 1948. In essence, Carlin became a casualty of Steel's plans to raid Mine, Mill. The CCF lost the seat in the 1948 Ontario election, placing fourth to Welland Gemmell of the Progressive Conservatives. Carlin, running as an independent, finished a very close second. It wasn't until the CCF changed its name to the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Mine Mill/Steelworkers war was over in 1967, that another social democratic candidate — Elie Martel in Sudbury East — was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from the city.Carlin then stood as a Farmer-Labour candidate in the 1949 federal election in the federal riding of Sudbury, losing to Liberal candidate Léo Gauthier but placing ahead of Willard Evoy, the CCF candidate.

He subsequently returned to labour organizing in Sudbury, becoming a bargaining agent for the Steelworkers Local 6500 from 1962 until his retirement.

On May 27, 1978, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree by Laurentian University. The degree was awarded for his pioneering work in the early days of the union movement in Northern Ontario.Carlin died in Sudbury at the age of 90.

Symphony Six

The Symphony Six were a group of Canadian musicians under contract to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) who were denied entry to the United States for a concert tour in November 1951. Coming at the height of the McCarthy era in the US, the six musicians – Ruth Budd, Dirk Keetbaas, William Kuinka, Abe Mannheim, John Moskalyk, and Steven Staryk – were denied visas on the suspicion of being involved in communist activities. The TSO sent other musicians in their place and completed its tour. The six musicians resumed playing with the orchestra upon its return to Canada.

At the end of the 1951-1952 season, the TSO refused to renew the contracts of these musicians, stating that they had not fulfilled their contractual agreements. The six musicians appealed this decision to its union, the Toronto Musicians' Association; the Mayor of Toronto; the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; and many other bodies, without success. They received support from the Federation of Canadian Artists and the Canada Council for the Arts, but not from the Canadian Congress of Labour. The incident garnered extensive media coverage in both Canada and the United States, and sparked a protest against the TSO's decision. The orchestra's director, Ernest MacMillan, did not speak about the matter in public, which also prompted criticism, and two members of the TSO board resigned. The six musicians were viewed with suspicion by their colleagues and people avoided them to protect themselves from guilt by association. Budd and Staryk later returned to the TSO, while the four other musicians continued their careers elsewhere.

Timeline of labour in Greater Sudbury

The following is a timeline of the history of labour organizations in communities in and around Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Listings for incorporated townships which were later amalgamated with the City of Sudbury are noted separately.

Trades and Labor Congress of Canada

The Trades and Labor Congress of Canada was a Canada-wide central federation of trade unions from 1883 to 1956. It was founded at the initiative of the Toronto Trades and Labour Council and the Knights of Labor. It was the third attempt at a national labour federation to be formed in Canada: it succeeded the Canadian Labour Union which existed from 1873 to 1877 and the Canadian Labour Congress which held only one conference in 1881.

The first meeting was called by the Toronto Trades Council and the Knights of Labor. It attracted mainly Toronto unionists with no one attending from outside of Ontario. It adopted policies which denounced government supported immigration, the Salvation Army for its alleged efforts to bring London’s poor to Canada; it opposed any Asian immigration, called for female factory inspectors to protect women workers, a single tax system, government only issued currency (Banks issued money at this time), the end of child labour, and the use of convict labour.

Workers' Unity League

The Workers' Unity League (WUL) was established in January 1930 as a militant industrial union labour central closely related to the Communist Party of Canada on the instructions of the Communist International.

This was reflective of the shift in Communist theory during the Communist International's "Third Period". Rather than "boring from within"—the policy of the "Second Period" that encouraged Communists to join mainstream labour unions and progressive organizations in order to move them to the revolutionary left—this new philosophy emphasized creating Communist groups to popularly defend the Soviet way. The WUL paralleled similar alternative trade union structures elsewhere: the Trade Union Unity League in the US, the National Minority Movement in the UK.

Unlike both the TLC (Trades and Labor Congress of Canada) and the ACCL (All Canadian Congress of Labour), the WUL organized the unemployed as well. Some of the unions affiliated with the WUL include the Mine Workers' Union of Canada, Lumber Workers Industrial Union of Canada and the Relief Camp Workers' Union.

It provided the leadership for the most important labour struggles of the early 1930s. This includes the bloody walkout by Estevan, Saskatchewan miners in which the police killed three strikers, and the strike of furniture workers and chicken pluckers in Stratford, Ontario which was put down by calling in the Canadian army.

By 1935, the WUL had a membership of over 40,000 members, the vast majority of whom were not communists. They were charting a distinct path towards industrial unionism - a path avoided by the more conservative TLC, and American Federation of Labor.

Yet in 1935, international developments changed the strategy of the Communist International. The rise of fascism in Europe, urged Stalin to call for a Popular Front of Communists and non-Communists against the extreme right wing. New orders from Moscow led to disbanding the WUL and its affiliated unions. The various locals joined unions affiliated with TLC or the ACCL. Many of its organizers started organizing with unions affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

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