Teamsters Canada is a labor organization with more than 125,000 members. It is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Teamsters Canada is the union organization with the strongest membership growth in Canada. The organization is a force to be reckoned with not only on Canadian roads but also on their railways, in their airports and printing plants. They handle hazardous materials, build houses, manufacture and distribute many different products and provide services to customers in dozens of supermarkets across Canada. Many other industries and trades are also represented by Teamsters Canada.
In 1976, the Canadian Conference of Teamsters was formed in recognition of the needs, interests and aspirations of its Canadian membership, which at the time numbered over 74,000.
In 1992, a proposal was submitted to the General Executive Board to change the name “Canadian Conference of Teamsters” to “Teamsters Canada,” in recognition of the special sovereignty needs of Canadian members.
In 1994, delegates to the Teamsters Canada Special Convention adopted changes to the union regulations, granting Teamsters Canada a greater role in administering the affairs of its members and those of Canadian unions affiliated internationally. In 1994, Teamsters Canada also created its own strike fund for Canadian members.
Teamsters Canada: An Autonomous Organization
In 1995 the terms of a proposal to amend the International Constitution regarding Canadian sovereignty were negotiated, granting Teamsters Canada more independence and control over issues affecting Canadian members. To this end, an amendment was passed at the International Convention in 1996 to create the position of President of Teamsters Canada. Candidates for this position are now elected by the Canadian membership.
In June 2001, a historic agreement was announced between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Teamsters Canada, resulting in Teamsters Canada now being an autonomous organization while remaining affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
In the era of globalization, given the industrial sectors in which Teamsters Canada members work, maintenance of a link with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was essential. At the same time, autonomy since 2001 has given Teamsters Canada the tools it needs to represent and defend member interests on both the national and international scenes.
The ability of the Teamsters to positively influence changes in the labor market is clearly illustrated by the presence of a lobbyist in Ottawa whose job it is to advance important issues affecting the welfare of members. Because Teamsters Canada is not affiliated with any political party, they have become a preferred representative to governments. Senior officials, cabinet ministers and sometimes even premiers and prime ministers consult with Teamsters Canada officials to help them make crucial decisions for the country’s future.
Teamsters Canada’s activities don’t stop there. Their Education Department gives courses for thousands of union delegates and staff employees. This improves the speed and effectiveness with which local sections respond to conflict situations with employers.