Born from a simple concept of believing that everyone deserves to live in a just and equitable society, the Toronto & York Region Labour Council (TYRLC) and the United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT) came together to establish Labour Community Services of Metropolitan Toronto Inc. (LCS) in 1982.
How the Labour and Community Partnership Began
Communal fundraising efforts started around 1917 in Canada, where labour was a founding partner, together with businesses and the Red Cross. Welfare agencies would individually ask workers to donate to their cause, which then led to the formation of one fundraising umbrella.
Many United Ways started out as “Community Chests” and then later changed their name to United Way. The first “Community Chest” in Canada was in Ottawa in 1931 and a “Central Committee of Community Chests and Councils” was founded in 1939 and nationalized Community Chests. The first United Way in Toronto was incorporated in 1956 and in 1988, and the Canadian Labour Congress formalized its partnership with United Way Centraide Canada, with over 40 United Way communities across Canada.
Labour Community Services was formed to uphold the partnership between United Way Greater Toronto and the Labour Councils of Toronto, York and Peel.
What We Do
Labour Community Services connects the labour community of unions made up of 220,000 frontline workers from every sector of the economy, and 280 community agencies, in tackling poverty and injustice. By fighting on the frontlines of social issues, supporting the United Way in raising essential funds to sustain hundreds of community agencies, and providing educational opportunities for growth and leadership, LCS strives to connect and uplift people from all walks of life. With labour and communities working side by side, Labour Community Services continues to uphold the core values of the labour movement of wanting a better quality of life for all, and is dedicated to being a leading voice of action for years to come.
- Yes, It Matters! Addressing Systemic Racism
Unions in Canada have a proud history of standing up for justice and dignity. Since our unions were first formed, working people have sought a collective voice in the workplace and in society. We have found many ways to achieve better wages and working conditions and, most importantly, respect for what we do and who we are. Learn more…
- Refugee Next Door
We are hearing more stories about threats to our society in the form of immigrants and refugees. As our airwaves fill will these stories aimed at painting them in a negative light, Labour Community Services believes it is important to take a look at refugees coming to Toronto today, and what their arrival means for our unions and communities. Learn more…
Labour Community Advocate Training (LCAT) Program
Over ten weeks, participants from a variety of union backgrounds listen to speakers and discuss the tools and mechanisms they could use to better offer support to their coworkers, family members, and communities. The LCAT program has now taught tens of thousands of participants through three different course modules.
Special Projects is the vehicle through which Labour Community Services acts as a “bridge” between the labour movement (in York Region and Toronto) and the wider community, coordinating with labour alliances/coalitions and community groups to address and seek solutions to current and emerging social issues:
- Toronto Community Benefits Network
- Labour Education Centre’s TradeLinx program
- Good Jobs for All Coalition
- Social Planning of York Region
- Lawrence Heights Inter-Organizational Network (LHION)
- Toronto Not-for-Profit Network
- Social Planning Toronto
- East Scarborough Storefront
- West Scarborough Community Legal Services
Special Projects also provides support to the Equity Committee of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council.
- City of Toronto: to bring to life a poverty reduction strategy
- Positive Change Toronto Initiative: to address youth violence in Rexdale, a neighbourhood with a significant Somali population, which resulted in a significant increase in access to parks and recreation facilities.
- Urban Alliance on Race Relations: in their work on policies of carding and racial profiling
- 360 Project: Addressing Racism in Toronto, which examined issues of access, equity, and inclusion for two highly vulnerable and marginalized groups in Toronto – the Somali Canadian community and racialized LGBTQ homeless youth
- Diverse Workers’ Networks: active in advocating for the Employment Standards Act reform under the Changing Workplaces Review
- Chair George Brown College’s Community Program Advisory Committee: connects with post-secondary institutions as they prepare students to work in the community social services sector.
- Good Jobs for All: good employment options can be the key to transcending poverty, which is why the work we do with Good Jobs for All is essential, such as our advocacy for changes to Employment Insurance
- Working with union leaders in York Region: leveraging their capacity to address social issues as part of the full development of York Region Social Planning Council