Workers Assembly Canada

Toronto and GTA Labour Movements, Organizations, and Unions

Toronto is the home to a number of unions, organizations, and labour movements such as the United Steelworkers, Power Workers' Union, Ontario Public Service Employees Union, and Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Unions That Operate in Toronto and GTA

The Power Workers' Union is based in Ontario and represents electricity employees and workers in the province. PWU unites some 15,000 employees and has different partnerships and affiliations, including the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Canadian Labor Congress. United Steelworkers is actually the largest union operating in North America, including the Caribbean, United States, and Canada. With a membership of 1.2 million, both retirees and workers, the union also operates in countries such as Mexico, Scotland, England, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The founding principles and pillars include goals such as better employment conditions and environment and wage increases by means of joint agreements and legislation. The union also operates to ensure fair unemployment insurance legislation, workman's legislation, and old-age pension legislation. A minimum wage scale is also one of the goals the union strives to achieve, along with legislation to protect the health and lives of all members. There are other unions that operate in GTA and Toronto, including the Brick and Allied Union, the Ontario Nurses Association, the International Union of Painters, the Canadian Construction Workers' Union, and many others.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union also operates in Toronto to represent part-time and full-time workers in Ontario. The union was founded in 1975 to represent some 130,000 employees who work for public colleges and municipal services and governments. The Ontario Nurses Association works actively to enhance the work conditions and economic welfare of all members so that they are able to offer better quality healthcare services. Members of the union include nurses working in private clinics, long-term care centers, family health teams, home care, community health centers, public health, and hospitals. At present, the union represents some 16,000 nursing students and 64,000 registered nurses. The International Union of Painters is yet another organization that operates in Ontario and represents more than 160,000 professionals, including drywall finishers, hazmat technicians, sign and display professionals, glassworkers, trade show decorators, and convention decorators. The union also represents flooring installers, wall coverers, glaziers, and painters. The goal is to defend the rights of professionals, both retired and workers, in the United States and Canada. The union participates and supports different initiatives and campaigns to improve the lives of all members and their families. The Telecommunication Workers Union was an organization that operated in Toronto and the GTA to represent workers employed in cable and telephone companies. The union dissolved in 2014 to merge with another organization, the United Steelworkers.

The United Food & Commercial Workers Union is yet another union to defend the rights of workers in Canada and the U.S. The organization has 1.3 million members working across industries and sectors, including retail food, chemical trades, textile, manufacturing, and food processing. The union also represents workers in poultry processing, meatpacking, health care, and agriculture. It operates in retail markets and large food chains across Canada, including the food retailer Loblaw Companies Limited. The Active Ballot Club engages in political advocacy in support of immigration reform and a higher minimum wage.

Labour Movements

Labour movements have a long history in Canada and can be traced back to the 1870s. The unemployment insurance system was developed and implemented in 1940. The Canadian Labour Congress was founded in 1956 to support unions to achieve their goals. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers staged a nationwide strike in 1965 to achieve goals such as improved management, better wages, and the right to strike and bargain collectively. Canadian workers also won the right to safety at the workplace in the 1960s and parental and maternity benefits in the 1970s.

How Debt Consolidation Can Help the Low-Income Families in GTA Deal with Their Debt

Debt consolidation is one solution to deal with piles of debt, and there are different ways to go about it, including home equity lines of credit, balance transfers, and home equity loans - see more. Statistics show that it is not cheap to live in GTA, and it is not surprising that low-income families often find themselves in a difficult financial situation.

Why Financial Institutions Offer Debt Consolidation Solutions

The main reason why banks and other providers offer debt consolidation loans is that this is a way to increase the likelihood of collection. Some issuers offer to lower the interest rate on existing debts as an alternative to consolidation.

Balance Transfers

This is one solution for borrowers with multiple accounts and high-interest card debt. Many financial institutions, the big Canadian banks in this number, offer balance transfer cards that go with competitive promotional rates. You can take advantage of a very low or even zero rate during a period of up to 12 months. The introductory period is sometimes shorter (6 months). Regardless of the card you choose, debt consolidation through balance transfers is one way to take advantage of a low interest rate and repay your debts faster. Shop around for a credit card that goes with fewer penalties and fees, rewards or travel incentives, and other beneficial features. Make sure you choose a product with a competitive balance transfer fee for additional savings.

Home Equity Line of Credit

This is another option to consolidate multiple debts provided that you have enough equity. You will benefit from a competitive interest rate, which is lower compared to unsecured loans. Given that your home serves as a guarantee of repayment, this can be a risky move. You risk losing the collateral (your home), to begin with. What is more, many financial institutions offer HELOCs with a variable rate, and the monthly payment amount can vary. If you are in the low-income bracket, this can be an issue.

Home Equity Loan

A third option to consolidate debt, home equity loans also require a collateral to guarantee timely repayment. While you take more risk, this is one way to reduce your monthly payment and try to master sound credit management habits at the same time. The fact that you only have one monthly payment to worry about makes it easier to plan, especially if you have a low income.

Some issuers advertise home equity loans with competitive interest rates, which allow you to consolidate high-interest accounts into a single fixed payment. In addition to a low interest rate, some loan providers also offer zero closing costs and origination fees for additional savings. The amount you can borrow varies by issuer. Some financial institutions offer up to $150,000, so it pays to shop around. Ask about the types of debt you are allowed to consolidate. In most cases, this solution can be used for installment loans and credit card accounts.

Alternative Solutions

There are alternative solutions such as debt settlement, debt management programs, declaring bankruptcy, and negotiating with your creditor - see more. The solution of choice depends on your credit history, types of debt, amounts, your financial institution, interest rates on existing loans, and other factors.