Commentary,  Indigenous Labour,  Time & Working Hours

Extending Unpaid Leave Provisions for Indigenous Democracy

The Toronto Star’s Andrea Macdonald has uncovered a fascinating and inspiring story about Janna Pratt, an indigenous woman from Saskatchewan who has fought successfully to win the right to unpaid leave from work for workers to participate in indigenous elections and government.

This victory extends provisions the right for workers to access unpaid leave for electoral campaigns, and (if successful) to serve as elected representatives in federal, provincial, and municipal government. It is obvious that indigenous government should be included on the list of applicable political processes covered by that provision.

But Jenna’s successful campaign (waged with the support of her union, Unifor), has highlighted the surprising absence of basic political leave provisions from the employment standards laws in other provinces. The article cites Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford, as noting this provision is an overdue and democratic extension of basic leave provisions in employment law.

See the full article, “The law didn’t protect her job when she ran for band council. A six-year battle won protections for Saskatchewan First Nations,” by Andrea Macdonald at the Toronto Star.

Jim Stanford is Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work. He divides his time between Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada. Jim is one of Canada’s best-known economic commentators. He served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union.