Canadian Unions Give Generously to East Africa Food Crisis Fund

Canada’s leading unions are giving generously to support the over 11 million people affected by the drought in east Africa.

July 28, 2011

Canada’s leading unions are giving generously to support the over 11 million people affected by the drought in east Africa. The situation is critical and with famine conditions in parts of Somalia, donations are desperately needed.

“We are happy to see the unions in Canada stepping up and donating generously,” said Oxfam Canada’s Executive Director Robert Fox. “Unions have never failed to support those in need – and in east Africa, today, the need is great.”

The Steelworkers Humanity Fund was founded over 25 years ago by Steelworkers in response to famine in the Horn of Africa.  “It is sobering for us that more than two decades later, emergency relief on a very large scale is again urgently needed in order to alleviate hardship and suffering due to drought in East Africa,” said Ken Neumann, Canadian National Director for the United Steelworkers.   

To date, national unions in Canada, including the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Social Justice Fund, the United Steelworkers Humanity Fund, the Canadian Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Humanity Fund, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Social Justice Fund, have all contributed to Oxfam Canada’s East Africa Food Crisis appeal.

“We are proud to be part of a Canadian Labour effort to stand in solidarity with those families who are suffering through this disaster,” said Ken Lewenza, National President CAW-Canada. “We urge Canada and the world to respond with the humanity needed to resolve the re-occuring issue of food shortages once and for all."

In total, unions have donated more than $100,000 to the Oxfam appeal.

“Helping people facing humanitarian crises is a major and important part of the work of the CEP Humanity Fund,” said CEP President Dave Coles. “We are confident that the joint Canadian union support for Oxfam will not only support those in need in East Africa but that Oxfam will advocate for change and work for long-term solutions that address the root causes of poverty in the region.”

In addition to giving to Oxfam, many unions are also encouraging their members and supporters to donate.

“PSAC recognizes the importance of delivering emergency relief to the millions facing drought and famine in the Horn of Africa,” said John Gordon, National President, Public Service Alliance of Canada. “It is also imperative to put an end to this vicious cycle of poverty and marginalization, and to guarantee the rights of all peoples to a decent and sustainable future.”

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For more information contact:

Katia Gianneschi
Media Relations
Oxfam Canada