At the 17th biennial convention of the Ontario Federation of Labour, OFL, on Tuesday, educational assistant Laura Walton, grocery store clerk Ahmad Gaied, and community worker Jackie Taylor were elected to be the next executive officers of Canada’s largest labour federation starting January 1, 2024.

Running together as Team Ignite, these members of CUPE, UFCW, and USW respectively received a strong mandate to conduct the renewed energy of the labour movement to organize workers, build workers’ power, and win a better future for workers and all residents of the country’s most wealthy province.

“Ontarians are facing intersecting crises of high prices, a lack of affordable housing, an escalating climate emergency, health care privatization, democracy-threatening misinformation, and a corrupt provincial government enriching millionaire developers at the expense of the majority of Ontarians who are struggling every day,” said Laura Walton, president-elect of the OFL. “Workers are ready to meet this moment with positive solutions and building a movement with the resolve to win. It’s time for a better standard of living for the people whose work is responsible for record profits _ especially racialized and young workers who have been told, for too long, their only choice is to accept low-wage jobs and worse working conditions than the last generation.”

“Workers’ unions - united through our federation - are well-resourced and prepared to fight for higher wages, no more workers killed on the job, and defined benefit pensions for all,” said re-elected OFL secretary-treasurer Ahmad Gaied. “I started working in one of billionaire Galen Weston’s super-profitable grocery stores when I was 17. My coworkers and I are tired of rich posers like Doug Ford and Pierre Poilievre who spew hatred and disinformation because they know that the more people learn about what they actually stand for, the less anyone is willing to vote for them. I’m proud to be part of a team that’s heard the call for a new focus on political education so workers can be organized not just in our workplaces, but at the ballot box and in the halls of power too.”

“The wave of strikes across Ontario is continuing, and that’s a good thing,” said Jackie Taylor, the OFL’s next executive vice-president. “Workers are joining unions in record numbers because we understand our value and refuse to accept low pay, long hours, no pensions, and overall disrespect from illegitimately rich owners who do no real work for their wealth. Change comes through struggle. Frontline workers are leading the way and I’m humbled to help my co-workers across Ontario channel their power - and use it to win the changes they need and deserve.”

This will be Walton and Taylor’s first term as president and executive vice-president. Gaied has been re-elected to serve a third two-year term as secretary-treasurer.