Labour Training Programs

The mission of Labour Programs and Services is to improve lives, build relationships with labour and community, and facilitate social change by encouraging and strengthening joint work between and among the community, Labour and United Way/Centraide (UWC) Movements.

United Way’s Labour Programs staff work towards strengthening relationships between members of all three stakeholder groups.


Labour Programs and Services staff also facilitate Labour Community Advocate training to prepare workers to listen, guide, and refer their co-workers who may be struggling with an issue or simply need to know where to go for help.  The training also encourages and explores community engagement among participants.  Labour Community Advocate Level 1 Training is offered each February to April, and Level 2 Training is offered September through November.

We also provide training to the Adjustment Action Centre’s “Peer Helpers”, who are helping their co-workers transition from job loss to a new position, job training or higher education.

And offer other training such as Mental Health in the work place and Workplace Domestic Violence training.

Please see more about each option below by clicking on the section.

Workplaces have changed dramatically over the last decade. Distressed employees do not always know where to turn for help when personal problems take over. United Way, in cooperation with the Labour Community Service, facilitates workplace programs to direct employees to the help they need.

The Labour Community Advocate Training Program can help your leadership, help their  members cope with the many challenges in their lives.

Local unions with the Labour Community Advocate Training program help members with drug and alcohol problems, mental health issues, violence in the family, financial problems and more ─ essentially any personal issues affecting them in their workplace, home or community.

What is the Labour Community Advocate Program?

Labour Community Advocate Program (LCAP) is a training program that helps union leadership become workers advocates for their members.

Participants receive training on social issues faced by working people and the resources available in their community. Participants are trained in communication skills, interviewing, and referral techniques so they can assist fellow union members. The program also allows participants to explore the ways in which unions and other labour bodies can help build resilient and respectful communities.

The program provides an opportunity for Labour Community Advocates from different unions and associations to discuss their experiences and share ideas. It also provides training on community involvement, including the way community boards work and how to become an effective advocate on social issues.

Some of the topics covered in this program are: Community Services, Principles of Communication, Stress, Interviewing and Referral Skills, Conflict Resolution, Understanding Violence, Time Management, Addiction and Dependency, Mental Health, Financial and Credit Counselling, Harassment and Bullying, Loss and Grief, Work-Life Balance, Critical Incidents

Labour Community Advocates have three roles:

  • To link workers facing workplace, personal or family challenges with resources in the community;
  • To identify community issues where the union can play a role, through collective bargaining or social action; and
  • To support community activism among union members, unions and labour organizations.

In addition to the knowledge and expertise of our presenters as they shed light, balance and insight into that given week’s topic, one walks away with the deep, rich and abiding life experiences that are brought to the table by participants.

What do they do?

Labour Community Advocates are trained to act as a resource to union members and to the local union itself. They can:

  • Provide information to the union local and its members about community services.
  • Listen and provide a resource where union members can safely and confidentially discuss a problem they are facing and identify how to precede.
  • Make referrals to appropriate community services and act as a link or bridge for union members.
  • Follow-up and ensure that referrals are appropriate, services meet the member’s needs, and support systems are in place once the member returns to his/her job.
  • Act as a liaison to the community on behalf of the local and support member and union involvement in the community.
  • Engage in prevention and union action by identifying issues that are having an impact on members and the community, and to identify ways the local union can respond.

The Labour Community Advocate Training brings together the worlds of our community agencies and resources in meaningful, relevant, and authentic ways as we make outreach into the community.

Who are the referral persons?

  • Referral persons are individuals selected by their unions to act as a link between distressed workers and services that could be of help. The referral persons are trained, through this United Way program, to identify problems early and assist the individual employee in a caring, sensitive way, to find appropriate services.

Who should take the training?

  • Union representatives or individuals representing an employee group or association, management, medical unit staff, human resource managers, first line supervisors. The training is open to both unionized and non-unionized workplaces.

Benefits of the program

  • This program increases awareness of the personal and family needs of employees. It offers concrete approaches to guidance and assistance that result in: healthier employees; better employee productivity; reduced grievances and associated arbitration costs; reduced absenteeism; fewer Workers’ Compensation Board claims; fewer confrontations; a more productive and happy workplace. As well as offering our members to real solutions to the growing pressures of today’s world.

Training provided

  • LCAP training is provided each fall and spring through United Way Elgin Middlesex. Among other relevant presentations, the 10-session program covers the topics of substance abuse, stress, community resources, interviewing and listening skills, and assisting families in crisis.

What if we don’t have a LCAP /Why Start the Labour Community Advocate Training program?

  • Get members the help they need.
  • Strengthen your local by involving more members in the union.
  • Be part of a national network of union activists and staff who work with our partner, the United Way – Centraide, to support community services and agencies through advocacy.

Our Labour staff is available to help your Union or workplace organize, and negotiate a Labour, community Advocate program.

Through the Adjustment Advisory Program (AAP), the Ontario government works with employers, employees and communities to develop strategies to cope with company downsizing or plant closures.

What services are available?

The AAP supplies advisory and financial assistance to its clients to help them adjust to the effects of job loss in the workplace. AAP advisors help clients identify their needs and secure appropriate support, including career counselling, training, referral and job search skills training. Adjustment committees are established to ensure full employer and employee participation in the process.

Employee or displaced worker adjustment

The APP helps employees who are being laid-off to deal with the effects of losing their jobs. AAP helps them review their options and plan next steps through adjustment committees. Committees include representatives from all the affected employee groups, as well as management and the union of the company. The committees plan and implement any programs and services staff require, including job-search assistance, vocational and educational counselling, information on training, personal support in dealing with the stress of job loss, financial counselling, and information on starting a small business.

Who can participate?

Participation is open to any Ontario resident affected by layoffs, downsizings or closures of employers with 50 or more employees that have been reported to the Ministry of Labour by a Form 1 Summary.

United Way and labour adjustment

Through our work with various partners and agencies, United Way works with adjustment committees to find appropriate trainers for the people who will be helping the laid off workers. We also use our expertise and contacts to help leverage and manage the resources needed.

Mental Health in the Workplace: 

This introductory course will help raise awareness for participants about mental health issues facing workers in today’s workplace. Activists will develop a range of strategies to specifically support, accommodate & represent members with mental health challenges at work. We will look at the myths around mental illness, challenging stigma and what role the union can play in making our workplaces & unions more inclusive of members with psychological disabilities. We will develop action plans to take on systemic factors affecting mental health through advocacy, bargaining & political action. (Week Long)

Domestic Violence in the Workplace: 

Course 1: For Union Leaders, Executive Members, Committees and Researchers:

Can Work Be Safe When Home Isn’t? Labour’s Domestic Violence at Work Initiative

This presentation outlines the labour movement’s DV at work initiative. From the groundbreaking national survey to follow-up action to educate and empower union members and representatives, negotiate workplace supports, and win legislative change like paid domestic violence leave.
(1-hour presentation)

Course 2: For Educators/Facilitators:

Domestic Violence at Work Facilitator Training

Participants will develop knowledge, skills and expertise on domestic violence at work and the role of unions and the labour movement in addressing it. They will acquire skills required to deliver a 2-day workshop to train Union Representatives, and both 1-hour presentations described here. This training will also help connect facilitators with shelter workers and other community support services for individual trainings and for local support services for members.
(2.5 day workshop)

Course 3: For Union Staff and Representatives

Domestic Violence at Work: Training for Union Representatives
This 2-day training will help shop stewards, health and safety representatives and other union representatives gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence at work, and the role of the union and employer in addressing it.
Participants will learn ways to best support members who may be experiencing domestic violence, including how to recognize and respond to the warning signs and risk factors, and how to connect members to support and services in the community. Union representatives will also leave with tools to build awareness in the workplace about domestic violence at work.
(2-day workshop)

Course 4: For Members:

Domestic Violence at Work: What Everyone Needs to Know
A short presentation designed for all union members. This presentation provides general awareness of the dynamics of domestic violence, and how it affects workers and the workplace. Union members leave with a better understanding of the issues surrounding domestic violence at work and what each member can do, as a friend or co-worker, of someone who may be experiencing domestic violence.
(2-hour presentation)

Islamophobia at Work:

This workshop is meant to facilitate the basics on Islamophobia and its’ manifestations in the workplace, while inspiring participants to learn more about the Muslim faith, Muslims and their unique needs in the workplace, and how they can contribute to making their workplaces more inclusive for Muslim workers.
WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES: • Dispelling myths about Islam and Muslims • Develop an understanding of what Islamophobia is • Develop an understanding of challenges faced by Muslims in the workplace • Explore ways to better support Muslim members in the workplace and the union • Inspire participants to learn more about Islam and Muslims in Canada ( 1.5 hour)

When the Pay Cheque Stops Strikes and Lock Outs:

This session identifies problems members might encounter during a strike or lock-out due to their reduced financial means and the stress of these situations.   Participants will then explore the fundamentals of carrying out a good strike strategy, including the preparation required, ensuring picket lines are legal and the roles and responsibilities of various parties during these situations. It will provide info on supports in our community and external agencies that can support our members during the strike/lockout.

Our Labour staff is a trained facilitator and able to offer other training as need for your membership contact for more information.

Dani Bartlett 
Labour Programs & Services Coordinator
Ph: 519-438-1723

Get started!

Please fill out this form if you want to participate in any of these training programs.

Anything above with a * must be filled out.

Dakota HalfpennyLabour Training Programs