Latest Labour News

Media Release: Private post-secondary layoffs continue; union concerned about what comes next

Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC -

May 29, 2020 FPSE News

For immediate release:

The closure of inlingua Vancouver effective May 29 adds 20 more job losses to a sector already hard-hit by COVID-19. Coupled with job losses or layoffs from other unionized institutions, the Education and Training Employees' Association, the union representing the workers, estimates that its membership has been reduced by half.

Among the workers affected is Graeme Cheadle, teacher at inlingua and First Vice President of ETEA.

“I’m disappointed and saddened about the closure of inlingua Vancouver,” said Cheadle. “Private English language schools are an important part of the BC economy, and the impact of COVID-19 has been devastating. Governments can and must also do more to help the workers in our sector – otherwise this may just be among the first of many schools to decide it’s easier to close than to keep employing people.”

The ESL industry employs more than 1,800 people, attracts nearly 50,000 students to the area, and contributes approximately $500-million/year to the economy, according to Languages Canada, the industry employer association. The ‘high season’ for enrollment is typically the summer, between June-August.

ETEA President Kevin Drager says layoffs and the closure of institutions pose long term problems beyond job losses.

“This will likely be the toughest challenge to have hit private post-secondary institutions and educators– and the end is nowhere in sight,” said Drager. “Low enrollment is putting a lot of pressure on school budgets. Obviously, we’re concerned that this could translate into further job losses.

We’re calling on employers to apply for COVID-19 financial support to avoid further losses, and financial supports like the rent subsidy extended for those who are working now, but might not be in July or August. We’d like to take a bit of stress away from those who are worried about paying their bills a month down the road.”

“On top of this, a lot of us are worried about what’s next in the industry when students eventually return,” Drager continued. “There are only a handful of institutions with unionized employees in Canada – and we’ve been successful in achieving higher wages and benefits for workers, while still allowing a profit margin for the institution. Job security also gives teachers the confidence to speak out about reports from students about misbehaviour from education agents or other problems. These improvements don’t just benefit our members, they put upward pressure on other institutions to provide these benefits as well. I worry that if enough of these institutions close, the improvements made over decades for workers and students will all be undone.”


About ETEA

The Education and Training Employees’ Association (ETEA) has represented over 200 private ESL and post-secondary teachers in Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria for 25 years. ETEA is Local 21 in the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE).

Media Contact

Nicole Seguin

Communications Officer

604-831-6684 |

La tentative de Jason Kenney de criminaliser la dissidence avec le projet de loi 1 va échouer

Unifor -

Le 29 mai 2020

EDMONTON—La tentative abusive du premier ministre Jason Kenney de criminaliser la protestation pacifique est une manœuvre autoritaire excessive, mais elle ne parviendra pas à faire taire ses nombreux détracteurs et opposants, déclare Unifor.

« Jason Kenney ne comprend pas : être en désaccord avec les décisions du gouvernement et des entreprises est un droit protégé par la Constitution, a déclaré Jerry Dias, président national d'Unifor. Nous allons continuer à nous opposer à ce tyran, quelles que soient les lois anticonstitutionnelles qu'il fait adopter par le corps législatif. »

Plus tôt ce printemps, les travailleurs du pétrole et du gaz de l'Ouest canadien mis en lock-out par la Federated Co-op ont exercé leur droit de piquetage à un terminal pétrolier à Carseland, en Alberta. Malgré le soutien déclaré du gouvernement Kenney aux travailleurs du secteur de l'énergie, le PCU s'est opposé avec véhémence à la ligne de piquetage de Carseland. Selon Unifor, ces attaques et d'autres contre les droits des travailleurs sous le gouvernement Kenney montrent que le projet de loi 1 vise plus que de simples protestations environnementales.

« Jason Kenney pense qu'il envoie un message aux investisseurs internationaux selon lequel l'Alberta est ‘ouverte aux affaires’, mais la réalité est qu'il se présente comme un Vladimir Poutine en herbe, a déclaré Gavin McGarrigle, directeur de la région de l’Ouest d'Unifor, qui a également mené les actions de Carseland. L'autoritarisme n'est pas attrayant pour la plupart des investisseurs, et en fin de compte, le coup de Kenney sera annulé par les tribunaux canadiens. »

Unifor est le plus grand syndicat du secteur privé au Canada, représentant 315 000 travailleuses et travailleurs dans tous les grands secteurs de l’économie. Le syndicat milite pour tous les travailleurs et leurs droits; il lutte pour l’égalité et la justice sociale au Canada et à l’étranger, et aspire à provoquer des changements progressistes pour un meilleur avenir.

Pour solliciter une entrevue en personne, par Skype ou FaceTime, contactez le représentant aux communications d’Unifor, Ian Boyko, à ou au 778-903-6549 (cell).

Kenney’s attempt to criminalize dissent with Bill 1 will fail

Unifor -

EDMONTON—Premier Jason Kenney’s heavy-handed attempt to criminalize peaceful protest is an authoritarian over-reach, but will ultimately fail to silence his many critics and opponents, says Unifor.

“Jason Kenney doesn’t get it: disagreeing with government and corporate decisions is a constitutionally-protected right,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We look forward to continuing to stand up to this bully, no matter what un-constitutional laws he pushes through the legislature.”

Earlier this spring, Western Canadian oil and gas workers locked out by Federated Co-op exercised their right to picket at a fuel terminal in Carseland, Alberta. Despite the Kenney government’s professed support for energy workers, the UCP vocally opposed the Carseland picket line. Unifor says these and other attacks on workers’ rights under the Kenney government shows that Bill 1 is aimed at more than just environmental protests.

“Kenney thinks he’s sending a message to international investors that Alberta is ‘open for business’, but the reality is that he’s coming across as a wannabe Vladimir Putin,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director, who also led the Carseland actions. “Authoritarianism isn’t attractive to most investors, and ultimately Kenney’s stunt will be struck down by Canadian courts.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype/Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at or 778-903-6549 (cell).