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The National Environment Committee recommends measures, programs and campaigns to the national union to ensure that environmental issues remain a priority for CUPE.  This includes promoting environmentally friendly and sustainable workplaces by providing locals with assistance and advice on campaigns, programs, collective bargaining and public awareness of environmental issues.

Contact the committee.

Terms of Reference

May 2008

Committee Purpose and Objectives

CUPE’s National Environment Committee provides advice to the National President and National Executive Board on environmental issues of concern to all CUPE members. The committee’s purpose and objectives include - but are not limited to - the following:

  1.  Recommend measures, programs and campaigns to the national union to ensure that environmental issues remain a prominent priority for the union.
  2. Address members’ environmental concerns by reviewing and evaluating programs to determine their effectiveness.
  3. Advise CUPE’s National Executive Board and help influence national issues (such as policies and legislation) by providing assistance and guidance in implementing national environment campaigns.
  4. Invite the National Executive Board to refer environmental issues to the committee for discussion and advice.
  5. Increase CUPE members’ knowledge of environmental issues.
  6. Support CUPE members to develop and carry out work on environmental campaigns.
  7. Participate in national campaigns.
  8. Monitor and report to the National Executive Board on the effectiveness of the union’s measures, programs and campaigns.
  9. Ensure adherence to CUPE’s policies by proposing measures for environmental education, collective bargaining, policy, legislation, and local union committee terms of reference.
  10. Promote and raise awareness of Earth Day, April 22nd, Clean Air Day, and all other days that highlight environmental issues and ensure that the days remain grass roots celebrations of the environment.
  11. Assist in the development of resolutions related to national, provincial and local environmental issues.
  12. Provide support, tools, and training for environment committees at all levels.
  13. Assist the national union to relate environmental issues to CUPE members work and connect the committees work to members’ issues.
  14. Report and make recommendations to CUPE National Convention to ensure environmentally friendly and sustainable workplaces.
  15. Be active participants in communicating initiatives and campaigns with all CUPE National Committees.
  16. The CUPE National Environment Committee exhibit leadership in green and sustainable initiatives and encourage successful initiatives for inclusion in the guidelines for meetings, workshops, communication, schools and conferences held and organized by CUPE National, CUPE Division and independent Locals.


CUPE’s National President appoints committee members. The committee is composed of members from every province, national office staff and National Executive Board liaison. The National President may also decide to appoint members representing divisions, such as the Hospital Employees Union (HEU) or the Airline Division of CUPE. Members and staff on the committee shall be knowledgeable environmental advocates.

Roles and Responsibilities

The National Environment Committee members are accountable to CUPE’s National President, the National Executive Board and CUPE’s membership. The committee is committed to fulfilling the following obligations:

  1. Meet a minimum of twice per year in Ottawa, with sufficient time allotted to deal with all business. Emergency meetings will be held at the call of the Co-Chairs, with prior approval from the National Officers.
  2. To promote input from all regions of the country. Meetings will be open to CUPE members, Divisions and Councils as observers. Where practical, the committee will participate in any local initiatives that will benefit the membership and support provincial and local committees.
  3. Act on environment issues raised by the National Officers and National Executive Board.
  4.  Develop and implement the National Environment Committees’ Action Plan, and amend it from time to time.
  5. Report at and make recommendations to the CUPE National Convention to help ensure environmentally friendly and sustainable workplaces for all CUPE members.
  6. Regularly submit a written report of its activities and advise the National Executive Board about new or emerging environment issues. The committee’s report will be presented to the Board by the National Executive Board liaison.
  7. Make recommendations on national environment conferences and participate at other conferences with relevant links to the committee’s work.
  8. Meet after each National Convention to consider environmental resolutions passed and to develop a plan of action for the next two years.
  9. Ensure an exchange of information between provinces, report on trends and assist the National Health and Safety Branch to maintain a national database of environmental activists.
  10. Drive and coordinate its action plan and ensure a two-way flow of information between members and the national union. Members will deliver a written report to each meeting and take appropriate information from the national committee to provincial Executive Boards, committees or locals.
  11. Make recommendations to the National Executive Board on how CUPE can green its own operations.

Committee Co-Chairs

The National President will appoint the committee Co-Chairs. The National Environment Committee Co-Chairs will:

  1. Prepare the agenda prior to each meeting.
  2. Be responsible for conducting the committee meeting.
  3. Try to bring consensus on issues discussed at the meeting.
  4. Act on committee recommendations.
  5. Have signing authority for correspondence on the committee’s behalf.

National Executive Board Liaison

The National Executive Board will appoint one of its members to sit as an ex-officio member of the committee. It will be his/her responsibility to:

  1.  Report to the National Executive Board on the meetings and activities of the committee.
  2. Convey the committee’s advice and report on National Executive Board responses.
  3. Keep the committee informed of National Executive Board decisions.
  4. Share expertise and provide advice.


A Senior Officer from the National Office shall sit as an ex-officio member of the committee. It will be his/her responsibility to:

  1. Provide advice, assistance and resources to the Committee.
  2. Work on a day-to-day basis to move forward the committee work approved by the National Executive Board and as directed by the Director.
  3. Share information and expertise.
  4. Assist the Committee Co-Chairs to develop and prepare the meeting agenda and to keep meetings on track.
  5. Ensure minutes are recorded and distributed to all members and alternates as soon as possible after each meeting.
  6. Assist the committee to prepare reports to the National Officers and National Convention.
  7. Ensure clerical assistance is provided as required.
  8. Provide assistance with meeting arrangements, travel and accommodation.
  9. Report on the committee’s activities to the National President before each National Executive Board meeting.