Since 2015, almost 50,000 refugees have come to live in Canada. After escaping war torn homes, enduring a lengthy application process, and leaving loved-ones behind, many refugees still struggle to find adequate work and live a quality life in Canada. Although this may not appear to be a labour union issue or a workplace issue, it is, and here’s why.
As Teamsters 987 members, we are advocates for equality, fairness, and workers’ rights, and as we’ve said in the past, workers’ rights are human rights. Where workers and workplaces thrive, society thrives. Similarly, societal inequalities manifest themselves in the workplace, meaning that if refugees are being treated like second class citizens in society, the workplace will follow suit.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We believe that workplaces should be a leader for the rest of society by supporting refugees, acknowledging their determination and perseverance, and celebrating how each individual can enrich the workplace.
Not only do we want to see refugees come to Canada and be given the resources to successfully join the workforce, but we strongly believe that workplaces will be better off because of it.
At Teamsters 987, we believe that diversity is absolutely essential for a workplace to flourish. Diversity brings a healthy variety of viewpoints, a larger pool of talent, and a more well rounded environment for both employees and employers.
In addition to the general benefits of a diverse workplace, it is important to remember how refugees, specifically, contribute unique and valuable qualities to the workplace. For example, it doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from, if you’re a refugee, you have been through a lot. The strength and determination it takes to leave your home and start a new life in a foreign country is far beyond what many of us understand. This toughness often translates into hard work, diligence and adaptability – qualities that are an asset to any workplace.
Workplaces are a reflection of society, and we can only thrive as workers if we work together and build one another up both in and out of the workplace. As Teamsters 987 members, we don’t just look out for ourselves, which means whether you’re a construction worker in Alberta or a sales assistant in Syria, we want to know that you are respected, treated with dignity, and empowered to live a quality life.