Safety Needs To Come First With Self-Driving Vehicles

Technological advancements should be celebrated, but as we have learned multiple times they are also something that needs to be regulated.

A tragic example of this took place last week in Arizona.

One of Uber’s autonomous vehicle’s it had been testing in a Phoenix suburb struck and killed a pedestrian. Now Uber has suspended all testing across the United States and a program in Toronto.

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The 49-year-old woman was walking outside of the crosswalk with a bike when she was hit by a Volvo SUV going around 65 km per hour. This type of technology is supposed to detect ‘pedestrians, cyclists and others to prevent crashes.’ The weather conditions were calm and clear.

With little regulations in Canada for autonomous vehicles, it is time for us to ask if we feel comfortable on the road or crosswalks with self-driving cars that still haven’t ‘worked out all of the kinks.’

“I’m concerned about highway safety. I am concerned about jobs,” Hoffa said in an interview with the Associated Press in 2017. “I am concerned we are moving too fast in a very, very strategic area that we have to make sure we are doing it right because lives are involved.”

The Teamsters Union in the U.S. and Canada have been closely monitoring all aspects of the technology, ‘urging lawmakers to prioritize safety and transparency in rules concerning the testing phase of self-driving vehicles.’

Last year, BlackBerry QNX launched testing of a self-driving car in Ottawa and this year Suncor Energy Inc. announced a project to deploy driverless hauling trucks at mines in northern Alberta to replace the ones humans operate, eliminating 400 jobs.

But regulations and laws regarding safety have not kept up with this technology in Canada.

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Earlier this year a Senate committee in Canada released a report warning of the potential threats to safety, pointing out that departments and levels of government are taking ‘contradictory approaches to automated vehicles and the federal government needs to better co-ordinate action.’

It also recommended that the government invest in its own research into safety, especially considering the unpredictable and harsh weather Canada can get.

Vehicles are not toys. They can be deadly weapons on the road and Canadians need to be taking self-driving technology regulations seriously. We don’t want to see what happened in Arizona happen again.

We Need To Do More For Homeless LGBTQ2S Youth

Being a teenager can be a tough time.

Your body is changing, and so is your mind. You are searching for independence, but still need the support of your family. All of this can be difficult to navigate, and can be even harder if you are also coming out for the first time.

Unfortunately, an all too common reality for many young LGBTQ2S youth, is a rejection by their families. Many times this means being forced to live on the streets.

This is a huge issue across Canada.

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According to research from coast to coast, about 14 per cent of young Canadians identify as LGBT, but they make up 40 per cent of the number of youth living on our streets.

Alex Abramovich is a researcher at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). He explained in an interview with the Huffington Post  that LGBT youth become homeless for much of the same reasons as other young people, but when you add LGBT identity into the mix, the severity of these reasons can multiply. This can include family conflict, abuse, mental health issues and addiction.

Shelters can become the only option, but these are not always safe for LGBTQ2S youth. They face emotional and physical violence from non-LGBTQ2S individuals in the shelter, and sometimes even from staff.

"Hate crimes against the LGBTQ community are the most violent of any hate crime and we know that these are youth-based crimes," Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale Canada, told CBC News.

But organizations and governments are starting to make some much-needed changes.

Toronto will be home to Canada's first federally funded emergency and transitional housing facility for LGBT youth in 2019. The Salvation Army opened a new spacefor homeless members of the LGBT community in Winnipeg. OUTSaskatoon has opened the first long-term LGBTQ youth home in Canada for individuals at risk of homelessness called Pride Home.

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And Alberta has been taking steps since 2015.

Alberta became the first province to adopt a provincial strategy on LGBTQ2S youth homelessness. In 2017 the provincial government announced new guidelines for shelters, following through on key recommendations made by Abramovich at CAMH.

While change is being made, there is still much work to do across the country. LGBTQ2S homeless youth need our support and provinces need to do more to address the serious issues they face.

Backlash Over the False Hijab Attack Incident Shouldn't Distract From The Issue of Islamophobia In Canada

When an 11 year-old-girl was attacked while walking to school and had her hijab cut, not only did Canadians offer support, but people from around the world.

The report ended up being false, with the Toronto police reporting that the event the young girl described had never happened.

The backlash was troubling.

People demanded she make a public apology and said that criminal charges should be laid against the young girl and her family. Some even claimed the incident was part of a bizarre conspiracy theory of Muslims trying to ‘control political narratives.’

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The most troubling consequence of this whole incident is that many have claimed that this incident is just another example of how Islamophobia and anti-Muslim violence is very much exaggerated in Canada.

It also means that Muslims who have experienced discrimination, abuse or harassment are less likely to be believed.

But Islamophobia is an issue in Canada.

It is systemic.

During the Conservative leadership race a few years ago Kellie Leitche’s proposal to test immigrants on their ‘Canadian Values’ was very popular amongst Canadians according to polls.

Last year Quebec passed a law that included a ban on face covering, leading Muslims to be fearful of discrimination, although many provisions were later struck down.

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It is leading to a rise in hate crimes.

The most well-known example is the tragedy at the Quebec City mosque where six people were shot and killed. From 2012 to 2015 hate crimes against Muslims increased by 253 per cent, and Muslims and Jews are the most frequently targeted groups in the country.

Canadians pride themselves on being a country that is diverse and open to all cultures, and this is something that unions have fought for. Teamsters Local 362 intends on implementing committees of rank and file members to represent the five key equity groups recognized by the Canadian Labour Congress. These committees will help address many forms of discrimination in the workplace and in the community.

No matter your race, religion or gender, you should always feel like a part of the community in Canada.

Lack Of Transportation A Major Issue On The Highway Of Tears

Canada is a huge country in terms of land mass, with large areas that are very sparsely populated particularly in the northern areas. That means driving hours to reach a town with resources and supplies.

Without access to transportation hitchhiking becomes the only option and this can be very dangerous.

This is why Highway 16 has become known as the Highway of Tears. The notorious road in northern BC stretches from Prince Rupert to Princes George and hitchhiking is prevalent here.

Women and girls, the large majority Indigenous, have been disappearing or have been murdered along this stretch for decades. The RCMP has reported 18 cases, but community activists believe the total is close to 50.

“A lot of people think that will never happen to us, but it happened to our family," said Mary Teegee in an interview with CBC’s The National. She lost her cousin Ramona Wilson on the highway. “Because of that, I think you look at the need for safety.”

She was one of the community members who pushed for a bus service in addition to the Greyhound that runs along the highway with service that is very infrequent and often at night.

“I think people who don’t live in the north really can’t appreciate the challenge to get to services because of that remoteness,” added Teege.

In 2017, B.C. transit implemented a bus system that travels between Burns Lake and Smithers and it is $5 per ride. It is a good start according to local community members.

But now Greyhound has decided to cut their service, meaning one less means of transportation is available in the area.

The number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada continues to remain at a crisis level. Although not all murders or disappearances happen on the highway of tears, they still represent a serious issue in our northern communities in B.C.

A recent report from the United Nations described action taken by the previous Conservative government to protect aboriginal women as “inadequate”. They said that the lack of an inquiry constituted “grave violations” of the women’s human rights. It also added that failures by law enforcement, had “resulted in impunity.”

As Canadians, we can no longer allow this to continue. Actions have been taken and the problems persist, so we need to do more.

To find out how you can help visit the website for the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). 


Transgender Youth Suicide Rate Demonstrates A Need For Increased Support

Suicide and self-harm are not easy topics to talk about. Their personal and can be difficult to understand if you have never dealt with it yourself. It can be even more difficult to deal with when you are a young.

One group in particular that has a crisis-level issue with suicide and self-harm is the young transgender community.

A 2017 report found that almost 65 per cent of transgender youth in Alberta between the ages of 19 and 25 have considered suicide at some point in their lives.

A nation-wide survey of transgender youth found about two-thirds of the youth reported engaging in non-suicidal self-injury in the past year.

These statistics show Canada is failing these young people.

Experts suggest that people who want to end their life ‘feel so much pain that they see no other option’ and in desperation ‘see death as a way to escape their overwhelming pain.’

Self-harm doesn’t necessarily mean a person wants to end their life, but it can lead to suicide. People who do this usually do it to communicate emotional pain, fell a sense of control or punish themselves.

This is what happened to Jordyn Dyck, a transgender 14 teen living in Saskatchewan who was brutally bullied at school.

“I was treated differently because I was born a female and wanted to be a different person than I was,” Jordyn explained in an interview with CBC News Saskatchewan. “It made me feel like I shouldn’t be the way I am.”

Jordyn wanted to die and went on to self-harm and attempt suicide.

“I felt like I couldn’t support myself when all of these other people didn’t support me,” stated Jordyn.

Now Jordyn has switched schools and is going through a lot of counseling. Things are looking up.

Studies have shown with the right support, suicide and self-harm for transgender youth can be prevented.

A study in the journal of BMC Public Health, found a connection between the risk of suicide amongst transgender people and factors such as parental support, transphobia and ease of access to a medical transition.

Alberta has made some steps in the right direction.

As of February, the Gender Health Program at the University of Alberta has opened, the first clinic in the Prairie Provinces.

Transgender youth have a place to go to start their journey.

Previously a clinic based out of the Alberta Children’s Hospital was the only specialized clinic called the Metta Clinic. It was only open one half day a month, with a waitlist of up to three years.

As more research is showing that transgender youth and their family in Canada need more support, it is time for organizations and the government to pay attention and take action.



Albertans Can Help the Government with New Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

The new OHS Act, which takes effect June 1, 2018, defines workplace harassment and violence in all its forms, including sexual and domestic violence. The act requires employers and supervisors to ensure workers are not subject to nor participate in harassment and violence and to investigate incidents.

The act protects workers from reprisals and loss of wages while incidents are investigated.

The new act makes joint work site health and safety committees mandatory for larger employers (20+ workers) while smaller employers (5-19 workers) are required to have a worker health and safety representative.

New regulations are needed for the workplace harassment and violence provisions and the training requirements and operations of the health and safety committees.

Albertans have the opportunity to provide written submissions to help government devise the new regulations. The deadline for submissions is April 6, 2018.

Workers benefit from safe, fair and healthy workplaces that are respectful and free from harassment and violence.

A strong health and safety culture supports business and a strong economy by increasing worker morale and productivity.

Albertans get to have a say in regulations that will make their workplaces healthy and safe.

Teamsters Weekly News March 16

Each week Teamsters Local 362 will update our members on what is happening within the local and what our business agents are doing outside of their daily responsibilities. Make sure you check in to see what is happening in the union.

On Tuesday this week, President and Assistant Director of Teamsters Canada Armoured Car Division Wayne Garner together with Vice President Jordan Madarash and Business Agents Michael Dunphy met with Teamsters Representatives from Locals 395 (Saskatchewan) and Local 979 (Manitoba) in preparation for Bargaining to commence next week with Garda World Cash in Transit.

On Tuesday March 13, Business Agents Richard Brown and Ken Jarvis attended a Step 3 Grievance meeting with Garda World Aviation for the Southern Alberta Airports.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Business Agents Richard Brown and Terry Westhaver will be attending the Certified Psychological Health and Safety Training Course facilitated by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

In Bargaining this week Business Agent Ryan Adams met with Peace Wapiti School Division School Bus Drivers to exchange proposal documents

Brother Bernie Haggarty with Shop Steward Bud Chima have returned to the table in hopes of reaching an MOA with Tractive Express.

On Thursday, Vice President and Business Agent Jordan Madarash is meeting with Garda World Physical of the Edmonton International airport to kick off the first round of bargaining.

Gary Ellis Retirement

Gary Ellis started with Consolidated Aviation in 1981, at this time they were with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Shortly after Gary started, his wage was $5.84 and was looking for other work due to the low wage and the lack of representation from the current union, until he heard that other co-workers were seeking representation from the Teamsters.

Teamsters successfully stepped in as the Bargaining Agent in 1981 for Consolidated Aviation employees. After the first contract was negotiated, the wage jumped from $5.84 to over $8.00 and after the second contract, the wage again jumped to over $11.00.

Gary is extremely grateful for the strong contracts and the living wage that the Teamsters Contracts brought to the workers of Consolidated Aviation, then PHL and now ASIG by Menzies.

On March 12, 2018 Gary Ellis was presented a gold retirement ring by Business Agent Richard Brown for almost 37 years of continuous service.

A Look At The Federal Budget for 2018

It is that time of year once again when Canadians find out just where the government plans on spending money.

This budget was titled ‘Equality + Growth, A Strong Middle Class’ and included a number of issues the government plans to take on in 2018 including pharmacare, Indigenous issues and the opioid crisis.

The biggest theme for this budget was gender equality.

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"We believe that Canada's future success rests on making sure that every Canadian has an opportunity to work, and to earn a good living from that work," said Finance Minister Bill Morneau. "And that includes Canada's talented, ambitious and hard-working women."

Union leaders and members were pleased with the budget, especially the attention to universal pharmacare and pay-equity – which is long overdue.

“Women in Canada have waited far too long for fairness, and Canada’s unions look forward to working with the government to get this legislation right,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff. “That means ensuring, for example, that it establishes both a distinct Pay Equity Commission and a Hearings Tribunal – two essential components of a proactive pay equity regime.”

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Here are some of the major highlights from the budget:

    • New apprenticeship and training initiatives including incentive grants for women entering the Red Seal trades


    • A commitment to consult with employers, unions and other stakeholders to work to develop pay-equity legislation, which will be included in the budget bill


    • $1.2-billion over five years to create a new five-week "use-it-or-lose-it" incentive for parental leave for fathers


    • $447-million over five years to create a new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program


    • Increase the take-home pay of low-income workers through a revamped tax credit


    • A pledge for a national pharmacare program although the budget does not lay out what this might cost


  •            $191-million over five years to help to cover the cost of NAFTA and WTO legal challenges



Teamsters Local 362 Latest News

Each week Teamsters Local 362 will update our members on what is happening within the local and what our business agents are doing outside of their daily responsibilities. Make sure you check in to see what is happening in the union.

This week, Secretary Treasurer Alan Porter and President Wayne Garner are attending Teamsters Canada Executive Board Meetings. Alan Porter is a sitting member of the Board and Wayne Garner is attending  as an invited guest from from Joint Council 90.

This week, Business Agents Richard Brown and Terry Westhaver, with Vice President Jordan Madarash, will begin the Conciliation process and commence bargaining with Garda World Edmonton Pre-board Screening operations, with the help of a Federal Mediation Officer.

Brother Bernie Haggarty attended the monthly Southern Alberta Building Trades meeting as Local 362’s representative. Each month, they discuss business development with other trade unions in Alberta (Boilermakers 146, Refrigeration Union 488 and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 424).

Business Agents Rick Prouty and Steward Chance Hrycun (who is on a developmental leave) will be taking proposals from Monday to Thursday evenings this week for the Fort McKay group.

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week Agents Bernie Haggarty and Ryan Adams will be voting the Memorandum of Agreement for the PeBen group.