Here’s what the Ontario labour movement is saying about Team Vision Forward’s leadership.

  • Our province is facing unprecedented attacks on the rights of working people and a rising tide of intolerance and hate. We need to come together and build a culture of solidarity and resistance. Now—more than ever—we need strong leadership to unite against the Doug Ford Conservatives and their austerity agenda. That’s why we’re proud to support the Vision Forward team for the Ontario Federation of Labour. Patty Coates as President, Ahmed Gaied as Secretary-Treasurer and Janice Folk-Dawson as Executive Vice President are the leaders that we need to bring affiliates and labour councils together, supporting campaigns and working with community partners to build a vibrant fightback.

    Fred Hahn & Candace Rennick President & Secretary Treasurer, CUPE Ontario
  • UFCW Canada Locals 175 & 633 are proud to endorse the Vision Forward team. Hard-working families across Ontario need the OFL to be a strong and effective voice in challenging the destructive politics of Doug Ford.

    Patty, Ahmad, and Janice are experienced activists who have committed themselves to supporting affiliates and advancing the crucial work of the federation. A vote for the Vision Forward Team is a vote for a progressive, united labour movement in Ontario.

    Shawn Haggerty President, UFCW Canada Local 175
  • Over the past four years as Secretary-Treasurer, Patty Coates has worked diligently in restoring stability and transparency while putting the OFL back on solid financial footing. Patty comes with years of experience as a strong, dedicated trade unionist and I can’t think of anyone more fitting to be the first woman elected President of the OFL. I am proud to endorse her along with members of the Vision Forward team, Ahmad Gaied and Janice Folk-Dawson.

    Harvey Bischof President, OSSTF/FEESO
  • When I look around at our province today, I see attack after attack on working people. I see cuts that leave our communities without services they desperately need. I see the rising tide of hate and intolerance.

    The OFL needs to lead the struggle against Doug Ford’s Conservative agenda. We need principled leadership to stand united against hate. That’s why I’m proud to endorse the Vision Forward team for the OFL. Patty Coates, Ahmed Gaied and Janice Folk-Dawson are the leaders we need at this crucial time for working people in Ontario.

    Yolanda McLean 2nd Vice President, CUPE Ontario
  • I have had the privilege of working with Janice Folk-Dawson for over 20 years through her involvement with the Guelph and District Labour Council. Her actions over the years show how deep her commitment to solidarity runs. When our members had to set-up picket-lines, Janice was always there to show her support, rallying the community to ensure our lines were strong. Janice doesn’t pay lip service—she steps into the breech and stands shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight.

    That’s why the Workers United Canada Council is proud to endorse Janice Folk-Dawson and the Vision Forward team for the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL). Janice Folk-Dawson, Patty Coates and Ahmed Gaied are the team of leaders we need to stand up to the attacks our members are facing.

    Barry Fowlie Director, Workers United Canada Council
  • As teacher activists and advocates of Ontario’s publicly funded education system, we are thrilled to support a fellow education worker in pursuit of the OFL leadership position. With decades of experience representing education assistants and early childhood educators, negotiating collective agreements and dedicated leadership to her local labour council, Patty makes for a strong and experienced voice to lead the OFL into its next chapter of labour activism.

    We wish her the best at the 2019 OFL Convention. Patty has our support as she vies to make history and become the first woman to lead the Ontario Federation of Labour.

    Liz Stuart President, Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association
  • As a fellow educational assistant, labour activist, union leader and community organizer, Patty embodies many of the same values that have been the driving force behind my journey.  Her work on equity issues and promoting women in the labour movement has been inspiring.  This experience serves as an excellent foundation as she vies to lead the Federation into the next phase of our fight for social justice and better working conditions for all Ontario workers.

    I look forward to her grassroots style of leadership as she seeks to become the first female president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.

    Laura Walton CUPE, President of the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU)
  • As a member working on the shop floor for both Loblaws and No Frills, Ahmad fought for workers rights and improvements through collective bargaining.

    He is a two term Executive Vice-President of the OFL who has championed the fight against discrimination and hate. He has a proven track record and work ethic that demonstrates his commitment to labour.

    Glacier Effs-Samuel Recorder, UFCW Local 1006A
  • I met Patty a few years ago when I became a labour activist in my union, United Steel Workers (USW) and we have kept in touch ever since. Whether it’s at a rally for workers rights, a protest at Queens Park, a picket line, or even getting arrested occupying Doug Fords office, Patty is always there! She has shown amazing support to women in the labour movement and in the LGBTQ+ community. Over the summer Patty travels across the province to show that the OFL supports Pride events, big and small. She is an activist, a leader, and a force for all workers in Ontario.

    Mayson Fulk USW
  • Patty Coates has always been committed to supporting workers.  She has strong credentials in the labour movement coming from her roots in the educational system.  Twenty plus years of leadership as a Bargaining Unit President and recently as Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) has cemented my faith in her ability to lead and ally with workers in Ontario.

    Her exceptional ability to lead is balanced by her compassion and advocacy.  Patty’s dynamic, outspoken voice on campaigns such as, The Power of Many, $15 and Fairness and Domestic Violence Awareness demonstrates that Ontario workers and the broader labour movement can benefit from her influential energy.

    I am proud to stand beside Patty and enthusiastically support her run for President of the Ontario Federation of Labour.

    Donna Beischlag OSSTF; Vice-President, Barrie and District Labour Council
  • It is rare to find a leader with the range of skills and talents that Ahmad possesses. He is articulate, supportive, compassionate and exhibits a strong work ethic. He supports and engages others through social justice advocacy and political action. Since his election in 2015, Ahmad has worked alongside members, affiliates and community organizations. He constantly fights to break down barriers for Ontario’s most vulnerable and genuinely works to make change while lifting-up others. I am supporting him at the 15th Biennial Convention of the OFL for the position of Secretary-Treasurer and urge all my comrades to do the same!

    Felicia Samuel ETFO, Ontario NDP Vice-President
  • The issues Ontario workers are now facing are neither unprecedented nor unexpected. They are the natural outcome of sustained neo-liberal attacks on the working-class which aim to strip us of our collective power and entitlements, divide us along harmful nationalist lines, and foster bigoted and oppressive attitudes and actions towards and between us. As both a source of power and an engine for change, the labour movement needs to be proactive in its stance against these measures. The OFL must work to disrupt not just the policies and groups which are anti-labour, oppressive and discriminatory, but also the very system that sustains and enforces them. Not only does Janice bring the knowledge and experience required to shepherd this monumental task but also the sorely needed willingness to act.    

    Nathan Todd President, CUPE 3906
  • Patty Coates is a lifelong trade-unionist and activist.  She has devoted herself to fighting for the rights of others.  Patty never misses an opportunity to speak up in defense of working-people.  Patty is not afraid of tough battles and always comes prepared to fight.  Patty is an asset to the labour movement in Ontario and her work has contributed to improving the lives of countless people. The province of Ontario is stronger because of activists like Patty Coates.

    Karen Littlewood Vice President, OSSTF
  • Ahmad Gaied has proved himself as a hard-working and effective leader. We have consistently counted on him to represent the best interests of our community in the labour movement and at the Ontario Legislature. He has helped to build sustainable relationships between communities and labour while finding the time and resources to assist at CBTU summer camps. Ahmad always lends himself as an active participant in countless community actions and demonstrations supporting worker and human rights.

    He is a strong, youthful leader who mobilizes young workers in approachable and charismatic ways. Ahmad has all the qualities you need in a leader. This is why I fully support his candidacy for Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL).

    Abdi Hagi Yusuf Secretary-Treasurer, CUPW Local 626, Co-Chair of Somali Workers Network
  • I have the honour of endorsing Ahmad Gaied for the position of Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL).

    During his past mandate, Ahmad Gaied has represented both public and private sector workers on multiple platforms. Ahmad featured as a speaker on the popular Toronto radio show, Grape Vine broadcast by G98.7. That platform brought the message of Ontario labour law reform to an audience that would not normally hear from labour advocates.

    More recently when a non-unionized worker contacted me for help after losing a finger in a workplace accident, I contacted Ahmad who immediately ignited the resources of the OFL on this workers behalf.
    Ahmad has demonstrated over the course of his last mandate what is required to be an effective leader at the OFL and is exactly the person our movement needs.

    Mark Brown CUPW, Executive Board Member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
  • For more than 10 years I’ve had the pleasure of working with Sister Janice Folk-Dawson while serving on the CUPE Ontario Executive Board. Janice’s commitment to representing the University Sector in CUPE and the broader membership has been exceptional. She has worked tirelessly to engage members and leaders with a focus on rooting our movement in fairness and inclusivity. Janice is principled, driven and would make an excellent Executive Vice-President at the Ontario Federation of Labour.

    Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam CUPE Ontario Social Services Sector Chair
  • I am honoured to support Ahmad for Secretary-Treasurer of the OFL. Over the years I've seen Ahmad build our labour movement through dedicated organizing and being a presence in our community. Ahmad's commitment to bringing diversity and fairness to working-class people is evident in his work. He has always been a strong advocate for racialized workers in Ontario

    Elizabeth Ha OPSEU
  • Janice Folk-Dawson is first and foremost a vibrant and committed member of the Guelph community. Using the Guelph & District Labour Council as her canvas Janice has reached far and wide to focus on things that are essential to a true quality of life for workers: pay equity, human rights, and feeding the less fortunate just to name just a few.

    This is a courageous woman who will not be compromised or swayed! Janice’s actions and commitment provide a template for the next generation of union leaders to follow in her path.

    That’s why I’m proud to endorse Janice for the position of Executive Vice President at the Ontario Federation of Labour.

    Mike Foley OPSEU Equity Investigator (ret)
  • Ahmad is a tenacious, hardworking individual that carries himself with integrity and honesty. He is a strong advocate for workers in precarious and unsafe employment and is empathetic to the needs of those workers. He is tough, but fair. As Secretary-Treasurer I know he will do his very best to continue to serve the affiliates and their members. Ahmad would work hard to achieve the goals of the OFL membership and make the necessary changes that are in the best interests of the labour movement.

    Joseanne Job OPSEU, Provincial Young Worker Representative, Region 5
  • Janice has been an unwavering source of support and advocacy for the education sector both in K to 12 and post-secondary. As the sector chair for CUPE Ontario’s University Sector she has been the driving force behind campaigns that address issues such as funding and pension reform. Her energy, creativity and activism have fostered a deep relationship between her sector and ours in our quest to ensure quality publicly funded, publicly delivered education for all students. There is no doubt that Janice will be an important asset to the Ontario Federation of Labour and to all labour activists as we continue our fight against Doug Ford’s Conservative government and the injustices perpetrated across our society and workplaces.

    Laura Walton CUPE, President of the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU)
  • It’s rare to come across a leader that has the ability to connect with so many. I have worked with Ahmad on a number of initiatives at the OFL and the CBTU. He lobbied effectively for the creation of an Anti-Racism Directorate in Ontario and fought alongside activists who won decent work legislation across the province. Ahmad is taking the Ontario labour movement in the right direction, ensuring people of colour have a fair opportunity to participate in the economy. There is renewed unity and solidarity in the labour movement because of his leadership and this why I fully support his bid to become Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL).

    Megan Whitfield President, CUPW Local 626
  • I first met Patty 5 years ago while she was serving as President of the Barrie and District Labour Council. She welcomed me with open arms, encouraging me to get involved and this is why I’m still an active BDLC member today.

    Patty is a fierce advocate for working-class people and someone that you can count on to have your back when facing tough times. Patty is a strong female leader in Ontario’s labour movement and I’m proud to call her my mentor and friend.

    Dan Janssen IAMAW; NDP candidate for Barrie Springwater Oro Medonte
  • I had the honour of working with Janice in numerous capacities for over 30 years. In that time Janice has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to the principle of solidarity – both inside and outside the labour movement. Across various sectors and unions, Janice has been a presence at countless picket lines, rallies and demonstrations. She has shown herself to be a fierce advocate and loyal friend – someone who we are all lucky to have in our corner. That’s why I am proud to endorse Janice Folk Dawson and the Vision Forward team for the OFL.

    Michael Hurley President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions
  • I have had the pleasure of knowing Patty for more than 20 years in various capacities and in every instance her dedication has been evident through-out. She is an honest, no holds barred kind of person—what you see is what you get. And when it comes to Patty what you get is a strong, capable and resilient leader.

     She was a crucial part of pulling the federation out of bankruptcy and managing the task with integrity.

     As we face the next few years with a Ford government the House of Labour in Ontario will need a strong presence leading the fight for workers in this province—Patty is that presence. I urge you to vote for Patty—she is the leader we need!

    Cindy Dubue Retired OSSTF Provincial Vice President
  • Patty Coates is the social justice champion we need in the labour movement.

    In a political climate where workers' and human rights are constantly under attack, we need a leader like Patty. She stands up for working-class people of diverse backgrounds—Indigenous and racialized communities, women, 2SLGBTQI+.

    I had the pleasure of working with Patty on the OFL Solidarity and Pride Committee, seeing firsthand her commitment to 2SLGBTQI+ inclusion. Patty is a true ally, possessing an effective and powerful voice for the 2SLGBTQI+ community. Patty attends Pride events across the province in communities large and small. She ensures Labour is represented in the queer community and that the voice of queer workers is heard across the labour movement.

    Patty is a dedicated trade unionist and experienced leader. I'm honoured to support Patty Coates along with the Vision Forward team for the OFL.

    Tania Liu UFCW 1006A OUTreach Chair
  • The Service Employees International Union Canada (SEIU) endorses Patty Coats for OFL President because she is a leader who will stand up for working people, building a movement to secure a better future for their families in the process. Patty’s commitment to stand with workers as we fight for justice and dignity made her SEIU’s choice, the power of many.

    Mina Amrith Executive Vice-President, SEIU Healthcare
  • I have known Janice as an activist and a Labour sibling for more years than I care to admit.  I have always been impressed by her consistent principles and her willingness to take action. 

    In her tenure as Labour Council President, it has been my distinct pleasure to have Janice at the helm. She leads by example, tirelessly donating her time, energy and resources in order to further the cause of Labour in the Guelph community and surrounding area. As a leader she encourages others to step up while mentoring and supporting those that are new to labour activism.

    Together we have spoken at rallies and events, and Janice can be counted on to show up at strikes and demonstrations both as President of Guelph and District Labour Council and as Janice of CUPE. Her presence, perseverance and solidarity are greatly appreciated by our Local.

    Janice has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to equity and to ensuring that all voices are supported and heard. She walks the walk tirelessly, passionately and completely. What more can you ask for?

    It is my great pleasure to support and endorse my Labour sister.

    Gundi Barbour President, Upper Grand ETFO
  • I have worked with Sister Janice Folk-Dawson for many years and I can state unequivocally that she has been an exceptional Labour Council President and leader in the labour movement. 

     She has demonstrated strong leadership skills in her ability to build solidarity across both the labour and broader social movements. She has consistently supported affiliate campaigns, building the capacity of labour councils as VP of Labour Councils at the OFL. In this role, Janice has ensured grassroots labour council representation at the Federation. 

     We need her expertise, passion and solid commitment to building solidarity at the local and provincial levels especially now as we prepare to fight the Ford government through escalating and strategic actions. I urge your support for Sister Janice Folk-Dawson.

    Patti Dalton President, London and District Labour Council
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