Home Workplace Legislation/Press Releases Federal Minister of Labour champions worker rights at International Labour Conference in Geneva

Federal Minister of Labour champions worker rights at International Labour Conference in Geneva

by HR Law Canada

On June 14, federal Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr. wrapped up his involvement at the 111th annual International Labour Conference, held in Geneva.

The Conference provided a platform for Minister O’Regan to engage in discussions with his international counterparts on critical matters. Key topics included the promotion of fundamental rights in the workplace, the support for inclusive economic growth, and the fight against forced labour in global supply chains.

During his plenary address at the Conference, Minister O’Regan reiterated Canada’s steadfast commitment to upholding the rights and freedoms of 2SLGBTQI+ individuals worldwide.

He emphasized the importance of protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, emphasizing that all workers should be safeguarded from any form of bias. The Minister also took the opportunity to highlight the significance of shielding the most vulnerable workers across the globe and reaffirmed Canada’s unwavering support for Ukraine.

In addition to his address, Minister O’Regan held a meeting with Gilbert Houngbo, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), to underscore Canada’s stance on 2SLGBTQI+ rights and emphasize the ILO’s vital role in addressing all forms of discrimination in the workplace.

The two dignitaries also discussed ongoing efforts to advance gender equality, particularly in relation to ILO Convention 190. Canada ratified this historic global treaty in January, which focuses on eliminating violence and harassment in the workplace. Convention 190 provides a robust framework to prohibit, prevent, and address such incidents, ensuring safer working environments for all.

The 2023 International Labour Conference brought together government officials, worker representatives, and employer delegations from the ILO’s 187 member states. The conference encompassed a wide range of topics, including sustainable economies, the importance of quality apprenticeships, and the significance of social and labor protections.

Canada has been a member state of the ILO since its inception in 1919, playing a pivotal role in the pursuit of decent work for all. The country continues to be a valuable partner in advancing the ILO’s objectives and advocating for the well-being of workers globally.

In a statement regarding the Conference, Minister O’Regan expressed his unwavering commitment to protecting vulnerable workers, stating, “The equality of every man, of every woman and of every person is not a negotiating point. The rights of 2SLGBTQI+ people have been hard fought. We will not stand by and have them brushed over, put back in the closet, or taken away.”

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