100 Years Strong: 1919–2019

Chapter One · Chapter Six — Social Justice and Making the World a Better Place



Chapter Six — Social Justice and Making the World a Better Place

In 1920, pay equity just wasn’t ‘a thing’. Women earned 10 to 50% less than men with the same credentials. So, as a delegate to the first annual meeting of OSSTF/FEESO, Ottawa (Lisgar Collegiate Institute) teacher, Jessie Muir, introduced a motion to shake things up.

It proposed, “That the principle of equal pay for equal work be formally adopted into the general policy of this federation.” It passed, unanimously.

Although many years have passed, this action was a sign of things to come. One of the greatest sources of pride for OSSTF/FEESO members is how the federation still fights for social justice.

In 2019, equity is still an important focus. Not just in schools and society, but within OSSTF/FEESO itself where members and staff continue to break down barriers.

OSSTF/FEESO develops projects and supports organizations that champion social justice at the local, provincial, national, and international levels.

Today, the OSSTF/FEESO provincial Human Rights, Status of Women, and the Communication and Political Action Committees work locally on issues such as workers’ rights and globally to create equal opportunity for women, fight oppression and establish democratic education unions.

The Federation is a leading partner in the White Ribbon campaign to end violence against women and create E-learning and video resources for members and the public.

OSSTF/FEESO was among the first to make bullying in workplaces and classrooms a priority, and we produce policy recommendations, resources, and workshops on sexual harassment.

We work to combat homophobia and transphobia and raise awareness of LGBTQ2S issues.

We’ve designed training workshops on challenging Islamophobia and the need for racial justice.

In 2017 OSSTF/FEESO introduced a new Equity Mentorship program. This important program is designed to reduce barriers to leadership positions within the federation for members of equity seeking groups. 

OSSTF/FEESO annually commits funds for an International Assistance Program to support projects that reflect our commitment to protecting and enhancing public education, social justice and equality in various parts of the world.

The Federation believes in the teaching of Indigenous peoples from their perspective and, thanks to the First Nations Metis and Inuit workgroup, OSSTF/FEESO continues to create resources to help us explore the issues and challenges that confront them. 

A lot has changed since the 1920s, but not OSSTF/FEESO’s commitment to social justice.

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