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Unifor Celebrates a Decade of Global Impact with the Social Justice Fund

Press Release

December 6, 2023

This year marks a significant milestone for Unifor’s Social Justice Fund (SJF) as it celebrated its 10th anniversary.

“The Unifor SJF’s decade-long journey is a testament to the power of collective action and empathy,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “Our support is not just about aid, it’s about solidarity with communities in Canada and around the world facing crisis and hardship, reinforcing the fabric of our local and global communities with compassion and equity.”

Formed from the merger of the CAW Social Justice Fund and CEP Humanity Fund, the SJF commemorates over 30 years of unwavering commitment to social justice, having supported over 1,100 projects globally.

“From food insecurity programs in Haiti and Somalia, advocating for workers’ rights in Mexico and Bangladesh, to gender equity and education projects in Vietnam and India, the SJF exemplifies our commitment to human rights and creating a more equitable world,” said Len Poirier, Unifor National Secretary Treasurer. “Every project we fund is a step towards fighting against inequalities and uplifting marginalized communities.

Over the past decade, the SJF has played a pivotal role in fostering equity and solidarity, extending its reach in communities across Canada and over 60 countries.

“With donations and funding exceeding $28 million dollars over the past 10 years, the fund has been an example of workers making a difference and supporting various communities and causes. This summer, Canada experienced its worst wildfire season ever, affecting people in virtually every part of the country, including many of our own members. We quickly mobilized to support the Canada Red Cross with $100,000 from the SJF and another $95,000 from the National and regional councils to help with relief efforts for those forced to evacuate their homes.”

In Canada, the SJF’s impact ranges from humanitarian aid for communities facing wildfires, bolstering food security in Indigenous communities, and providing essential supports to refugees and migrants. The fund has also been instrumental in supporting women and children escaping domestic violence with donations to women’s shelters and programs supporting transitional housing and other critical support services.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary, a reception was held at the end of the Ontario Regional Council in Ottawa, celebrating the victories and impact of the SJF. Representatives from over fifteen NGO and community organizations, including Health Partners International of Canada, Doctors Without Borders, and the Canadian Red Cross, among others, were in attendance and several spoke on SJF’s impact on communities they serve.

A special 10th anniversary legacy grant was also announced, where six organizations received a total of $600,000 to help support programs and initiatives that would have a long-term impact on various regions and marginalized communities across Canada and around the world. The selected organizations included Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam Canada, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), CODE, Tears to Hope Society and Romero House, supporting programs in areas such as humanitarian aid, education, workers’ rights, gender equity, health care, truth and reconciliation and refugee support.

As Unifor’s Social Justice Fund celebrates this milestone, the fund continues to embody the spirit of solidarity and commitment to making a tangible difference in the lives of many, both at home and abroad.

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