We’re in it together

Today, June 27th is Canadian Multiculturalism Day. On this day, Canadians acknowledge and celebrate the fact that we are a nation of communities from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Multiculturalism as state policy was officially adopted by Pierre Trudeau’s government during the 1970s and 1980s. The federal government has endorsed multiculturalism as an ideology because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration.

In November 2002, the Government of Canada designated June 27th of each year as Canadian Multiculturalism Day. Canada prides itself on the rich, ethnically diverse landscape that represents this nation. Rather than becoming a cultural melting pot, we honour and encourage our cultural mosaic.


Multiculturalism is reflected in the law through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act and Section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and is administered by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Broadcasting Act of 1991 asserts the Canadian broadcasting system should reflect the diversity of cultures in the country.

Canada currently has one of the highest per capita immigration rates in the world, driven by economic policy and family reunification. Canada also resettles over one in ten of the world’s refugees. In 2008, there were 65,567 immigrants in the family class, 21,860 refugees, and 149,072 economic immigrants amongst the 247,243 total immigrants to the country. Approximately 41% of Canadians are of either the first or second-generation Canada includes at least thirty-four distinct ethnic groups, and 6.2% of the population self identify as a visible minority.


Multiculturalism day is an opportunity to celebrate our diversity and our commitment to democracy, equality and mutual respect and to appreciate the contributions of the various multicultural groups and communities to Canadian society.

Just walking down the streets of downtown Toronto reminds us of the cultural richness of this great country and reminds us that we’re all in it together.



Serving the Public

Serving People

On December 20, 2002, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 23 of each year as United Nations Public Service Day (resolution 57/277). It encouraged member states to organize special events on that day to highlight the contribution of public service in the development process.


This day was created to:

  • celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community;
  • highlight the contribution of public service in the development process;
  • recognize the work of public servants;
  • and encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.

Here in Canada, the Public Service has expanded over the years as populations have grown. The number of services provided to Canadians has increased with the introduction of new offices throughout the country. The civil service has also been reduced several times, often due to restraint programs -, such as the reductions of the mid 1990s led by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, and most recently under the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2012.

The public sector is highly unionized in Canada. Approximately 80% of those public-sector employees eligible for collective bargaining are covered by collective agreements, compared with only 25% in the private sector. Most federal government employees belong to the 150 000-member Public Service Alliance of Canada, and have had bargaining rights since passage of the 1967 Public Service Staff Relations.

There probably aren’t many days that the average Canadian doesn’t access services that are made possible by our dedicated Public Service. Let’s all take the time to be thankful for the thousands of Public Service workers in our midst. Happy Public Service day!

By: Mark Klein

Dad’s Day


The very first Father’s Day celebration was held in the Spokane, Washington YMCA on June 19, 1910. The celebration was launched by Sonora Smart Dodd in memory of her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran and single dad who raised six children on his own.

The tradition caught on, and presently many countries celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June. In Canada, Father’s Day is not a civic holiday, but nonetheless it’s a day to celebrate our fathers and for some fortunate men, a day to celebrate being a father!

Back in the day, fathers were not viewed widely as primary care givers to children. Fathers were expected to go to work and bring home a paycheque and let mothers take care of child rearing and domestic affairs. Fortunately for all those concerned – but especially for children, those days are long gone.

The rise of feminism brought more women into the workforce. Economic realities frequently dictate that families need to rely on two incomes to make ends meet. As women increasingly bring home paycheques too in equal measure to men, it falls upon enlightened fathers to share equally in child rearing responsibilities along with mothers.

Today, families come in many varieties. Fathers co-parent along with mothers, same-sex spouses and step-parents and also increasingly by themselves. Father’s Day serves as a reminder that parenting is an equal opportunity affair and that fathers have an important role to play. So let’s honour fathers today and everyday.

SEIU Healthcare wishes everyone a happy Father’s Day!

Standing Together

SEIU Healthcare is united in shock and horror at the brutal slaying at the Pulse nightclub is Orlando. We stand with our sisters and brothers in the LGBTIQ community at this tragic time and renew our commitment to fighting bigotry in all its forms.

“We are shocked and dismayed by this horrific act of violence,” said Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Healthcare. “We send our best wishes and condolences to the families of the dead and injured.”

The fight against bigotry includes of course, standing with our Muslim sisters and brothers against false stereotyping and Islamophobia. SEIU Healthcare refuses to permit the acts of individuals to tarnish entire communities.

“An attack on innocent people anywhere is an attack on us all,” said Sebastian Trujillo, SEIU Healthcare’s LGTBIQ executive board member. “We will not give in to terror or fear.”

Let’s honour the 49 dead in Orlando during Pride Week.

By: Mark Klein

Take pride in Pride Week


Pride Week is a 10-day event held during the end of June each year. It is a celebration of the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning (LGBTIQ) community. It started out as a small protest march in the early 1970s. Today, the pride march is one of the largest organized gay pride events in the world that draws in nearly one million people every year.

For the most part, the Canadian labour movement has been at the forefront of the struggle for LGBTIQ rights. Canada’s unions have fought for inclusive language in collective agreements in diverse workplaces across the country to promote equality and protect and empower workers. And some of the very first legislation in Canada around same-sex benefits was enacted, thanks in part to organized labour’s support and advocacy. But the engagement of unions in LGBTIQ history is uneven. While some unions took up the demands of LGBTIQ workers, others ignored the call for solidarity and kept a long distance from organizing for safety, dignity and pride of their LGBTIQ members. And while some unions have ‘caught up’ in recent years, by devoting resources and energy to LGBTIQ issues, still others haven’t.

In May 2008, Pride at Work Canada was formed by a group of dedicated individuals with a vision – to improve the climate of inclusiveness for LGBTIQ employees in the workplace. Its vision is for Canada to be a nation where LGBTIQ individuals can achieve their full potential at work. Its mandate is to promote inclusion, encouraging organizations to support authenticity at a corporate level and create workplaces where LGBTIQ employees will be able to be themselves and, ultimately, to be more productive.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised the rainbow Pride flag on Parliament Hill to mark the beginning of Pride season. This marked the first time a Pride flag has ever been officially raised on Parliament Hill, an important sign of the progress the LGBTIQ community has made in this country. This followed the introduction of Bill C-16 which will amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to ban discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression.

The goal is to create a world, without homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and all other forms of oppression so that every person can achieve their full potential, free from discrimination and bias.

Happy Pride Week!

By: Mark Klein

#FridayFeeling: 7 feel-good hashtags for each day of the week

 “Hashtag” skit with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake


What is it about the weekend that we love so much? Could it be the BBQ waiting to be fired in the backyard, being able to press the snooze button on our alarms, or finally being able to catch up with family and friends? Whatever it is, the weekend is a time we look forward to, and it doesn’t only apply to people who work in certain jobs. In fact, studies have shown that the “weekend effect” makes people happier regardless of occupation.

So, what if every day could feel like the weekend?

Each day, Twitter populates a “Trending” section where the most used hashtags and topics being talked about appear. On that list, there’s at least one hashtag that trends specifically to getting us pumped and motivated, if not reflective and inspired for the day. Thinking of getting a meal plan ready for the week? Tweet it out and use #MondayMotivation – motivate others while also getting ideas for next week.

With social media, and Twitter in particular, people who share the same joys (and pains) are just a hashtag away, creating a real sense of community and ability to get inspired as well as inspire others.

Check out these 7 feel-good Twitter hashtags and connect with us throughout the week @SEIUHealthCan:

  1. #MondayMotivation
  2. #TuesdayTip
  3. #WednesdayWisdom
  4. #ThursdayThought
  5. #FridayFeeling
  6. #SaturdayVibes
  7. #SundayFunday

Got hashtags to share? Tweet them to us @SEIUHealthCan and include #healthaholicblog!

By: Richelle Himaya

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