National Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21 is usually a day of celebration for Indigenous peoples, however, this year is a much more challenging time as Indigenous communities across the country mourn the recent discovery of 215 Indigenous children buried at a mass grave site at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in BC.

As Canada’s largest union, we acknowledge that because of these recent events, it is more important than ever to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples to their unceded territories, as well as to preserve and protect their cultures and languages. CUPE stands in solidarity with Indigenous nations, communities and organizations and is committed to continuing to work towards reconciliation, and to respect our on-going treaty relationships.

Our union is striving to educate CUPE members on the legacy of the residential school system and the ongoing harm Canada’s assimilationist policies and laws have on Indigenous peoples.

In 2019, CUPE released “Walking the talk: A practical guide to reconciliation for CUPE locals”. This guide provides CUPE members with key resources to better acknowledge and include Indigenous members in our union, and to help locals take concrete action towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

As part of our ongoing efforts to foster reconciliation in our workplaces and communities, we encourage all members to participate in National Indigenous Peoples Day by sharing in the events of the day. But we can do more.  CUPE encourages members to take some time to learn and reflect on the ongoing harm caused by colonialism and Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples.

We know that the current COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the ways people interact, but it is now even easier to attend events related to National Indigenous Peoples Day through virtual platforms.

What CUPE locals and members can do:


  • Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report and consider how you can support the calls to action.
  • Invite a speaker to your next virtual meeting to talk about truth and reconciliation.
  • Ask for CUPE’s Indigenous Awareness workshop and our human rights course. Find out more at
  • Read CUPE’s response to the Final Report by National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.


  • Make employment equity a bargaining priority.
  • Act:

Asian Heritage Month

May 1, 2021 to May 31, 2021

Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s. It was officially recognized by the federal government in May 2002. CUPE recognizes and celebrates the contributions that members of Asian communities have made to Canada.

Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s. It was officially recognized by the federal government in May 2002. CUPE recognizes and celebrates the contributions that members of Asian communities have made to Canada.

We acknowledge and honour the activism of people of Asian descent in their fight for human rights and social justice. Their ongoing struggles against multiple forms of oppression have been instrumental in strengthening our labour movement and our communities.

Historical struggles like the Komagata Maru incident led to challenges against the federal government’s racist “continuous journey regulation”. In current times, COVID-19 has amplified anti-Asian racism. The current pandemic has been made worse by xenophobia, increased feelings of isolation, exclusion, and hate. These struggles are historical and are not tolerable.

Asian communities have reported an increase in racism and discrimination since the beginning of the pandemic. These experiences are also layered with misogyny and sexism. According to data analyzed by the grassroots Asian community group, women have been most impacted by the spike in anti-Asian racism in Canada, reporting 60% of incidents.

These unwelcomed and unwanted acts of violence need to stop.

For Asian Heritage Month, CUPE would like to remind members that we are here to support you through any experience of racism in your workplace, union, and community. CUPE encourages members to act against racism, discrimination, xenophobia, misogyny, sexism, and all forms of oppression today, tomorrow, and always.

Jewish Heritage Month

May 1, 2021 to May 31, 2021

May is Jewish Heritage Month. Jewish Heritage Month was officially recognized by the federal government in March 2018 after a unanimous vote in the House of Commons.

The Jewish community has long played a central role in labour struggles and in the fight against discrimination in Canada. In 1947, the Jewish Labour Committee successfully lobbied to pass the first anti-discrimination resolution at the Canadian Congress of Labour, demanding “vigorous action” in “the fight for full equality for all peoples, regardless of race, colour, creed, or national origin.”

For Jewish Heritage Month, CUPE honours the historic role of the Jewish community in the promotion and defense of labour rights and social justice, and we call on our members to take action against the growing tide of antisemitism in our country and around the world.

As part of our celebration this year, we encourage members to learn more about the Jewish-Canadian trade unionist Léa Roback, who organized Francophone and Yiddish-speaking workers in Montréal and fought tirelessly for women’s, environmental, immigrant and Indigenous rights.