Category: Family Leave

The Canadian Labour International Film Festival 2013

When: 7pm, November 29th
Where: 233 Gilmour Street (PSAC Headquarters)
Cost: Free!

The Workers’ History Museum is proud to host Ottawa’s Canadian Labour International Film Festival. This successful festival, now in its fifth year, has brought independent films about working people to cities throughout Canada. This year, we’re bringing these stories home to Ottawa!

Please join us on November 29th for the Ottawa CLiFF, featuring the following films:

Ann Kore Moun – Solidarite se chimen devlopman
2012 • 35 Minutes • Haitian Créole (English subtitles)
Directed by André Vanasse
What are unions for? Haitian union leaders explain the role of unions and why civil society is necessary for a country to develop itself. The documentary shows unions in action, in different sectors of society like the peasantry, schools, hospitals, transportation, municipal services, garment factories In Haiti’s free zones. Social protection, public services and the necessity of the rule of law are also discussed.

Union Style
2013 • 3 Minutes • English
Directed by Corinne Baumgarten
This is a light educational video about the importance of unions in general, their history and the current state of unions in Canada. It is a parody of Gangnam Style.

Tough to Swallow: Meals that Sparked a Seniors Revolt
2012 • 14 Minutes • English
Directed by Carla Bridgewater
In 2010, Alberta Health Services began shutting down full-service kitchens in all facilities with fewer than 125 beds and replacing them with so-called “heat and serve” equipment, where pre-cooked food was trucked in, reheated and served to patients and residents. The new food was described as ‘terrible,’ ‘inedible,’ and memorably, ‘dog food,’ but AHS just wasn’t listening to residents or their families. This film takes you under cover with John Gilchrist, noted food expert, author and critic, to expose the truth about the 21-day menu. Following production of this film and the subsequent coverage in conventional media, the Alberta Legislature ordered Alberta Health Services to reverse this policy.

A Struggle to Remember: Fighting for our Families
2012 • 20 Minutes • English (English and French subtitles)
Directed by Aaron Floresco
This film explores how Canadian feminists, unionists and political activists built a potent coalition, mobilized public opinion and achieved vast improvements in maternity leave and other family leave benefits.

We’ll also treat you to a sneak preview of the WHM’s latest documentary, Simply the Best.

The festival takes place at 233 Gilmour Street. Doors open at 7pm; the films begin at 7:30pm. It is a free event. Please contact to reserve tickets.

Thanks to our generous sponsors for their support of this event.

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Mark Your Calendars: Family Leave & Multiple Birth Parents Event, November 7th

4.1981 Red Rose Review demo, Ottawa supporting CUPW maternit

The Workers’ History Museum invites you to a screening of our video A Struggle to Remember: Fighting for Our Families, followed by a panel discussion with MP Sana Hassainia, Christian Martin (parent of twins), representing Multiple Births Canada, and filmmakers from the Workers’ History Museum. Kimberley Weatherall, Executive Director of Multiple Births Canada, will also be presenting an award to Ms. Hassainia this evening.

This bilingual event will be held in the auditorium of the Ottawa Public Library (Main Branch, 120 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa) on Thursday, November 7th at 7pm. It is a free event.

For more information, please contact

Chance or Commitment: Canada’s Family Leave Campaign


Source:, 7 July 2013

On the one hand, Commander Hadfield’s observation is bang on. The availability of guaranteed benefits such as paid leave for parents is a crucial indicator of how we choose to treat each other. In Canada, family leave has had a major, positive effect on children’s welfare and the career options for workers, especially women.

But with all due respect to Commander Hadfield, “chance” – apart from the accident of birthplace – has had little to do with the establishment of family leave. The rights that we now enjoy in Canada are the result of a hard-fought campaign that included years of negotiation and strikes by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and parts of the Communications Workers of Canada, among others. Their determined efforts ensure that today Canadians benefit from enforceable life/work balance provisions and can return to their jobs after parental leave.

The Workers’ History Museum documented this campaign in A Struggle to Remember: Fighting for Our Families.

Directed by award-winning Winnipeg director Aaron Floresco, this fascinating documentary includes archival footage and interviews with Canadian feminists, unionists and political leaders. The inspiring stories from this groundbreaking movement flow organically into other campaigns for social justice, including those of aboriginal adoptions and GLBT rights.

Global access to family leave is not a matter of chance but an ongoing struggle, and Canadians have an important story to tell. The WHM is committed to spreading the word about this astounding effort, but we need your help. We are currently seeking a few committed outreach volunteers who can promote this video to interested organizations (e.g., libraries, museums, labour studies and womens’ studies departments, etc.). If you might be interested, we’d love to talk to you. Please email for more information.

Family Leave Exhibit: NOW ON TOUR!

Family leave has had a major, positive effect on the economic stability of families, on the emotional stability of children and parents, on the ability of workers, especially women, to advance their careers and still bring up a family, on the work life / family life balance of workers and on workplace stability, since employers are better able to retain workers.

The Workers’ History Museum’s Family Leave Exhibit consists of five bilingual display panels, suitable for exhibition in a museum, gallery, school, college or university, workplace, shopping mall, union, or community hall. The panels illustrate in words and pictures the struggle to win maternity leave and other family leave benefits.

A 20-minute documentary on the history of family leave in Canada is also available. Watch the trailer now!

Trailer: A Struggle to Remember

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