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As we prepare to celebrate Labour Day weekend with friends and loved ones, I want to take
a moment and reflect on its origins and lasting effect on our everyday lives.
Labour Day dates back to 1872 when the Toronto Typographical Union went on strike, and marched
to Queen's Park to fight for a nine hour work day.
Union activity was a criminal offence in Canada at the time, and the 24 members of the strike
committee were arrested and jailed.
The law was changed the next year, legalizing and protecting union activity.
The parades continued, not in protest but in celebration.
Labour Day became an official holiday in 1894, celebrated on the first Monday in September
as a day to remember those labour pioneers and celebrate those who picked up the torch
of workers' rights.
Because of their brave actions we now have rights such as
• a minimum wage, • paid vacations and public holidays,
• overtime pay, • health and safety laws and regulations,
• and many more benefits that we as a society enjoy.
On this Labour Day, I, as Minister of Labour, want to wish our labour partners a successful
celebration and thank them for their advice and continued efforts on behalf of all workers.
Our shared goal is a province where all workplaces are safe, fair and harmonious - which is essential
to the social and economic well-being of the people of Ontario.
So this Labour Day, enjoy the holiday and remember the pioneering union members from
our past and all those who continue working to build safer workplaces and a fair society.