Canada Day 2024: General President Coleman’s message to members

July 1, 2024

Brothers and sisters across Canada,

Happy Canada Day from myself and the SMART General Executive Council. Wherever you are today, in cities and towns across the provinces and territories, I hope you can take the time to relax with friends and family.

Canada Day commemorates the day of Canada’s Confederation in 1867. And since that day — even before it — unionists in the labour movement have been bravely organizing, striving to lift the working and living conditions of all Canadians.

Union sheet metal workers and roofers have been an integral part of the nation’s progress throughout its history. And today, SMART Canada members have just as vital a role to play, whether building the green-energy economy of our sustainable future or helping bring new members into our trades.

The Government of Canada has set its sights on achieving a net-zero-emissions society by 2050. It’s an ambitious and important goal, and it’s one that you — sheet metal workers and roofers — are going to make happen. Whether installing green roofs that help reduce carbon emissions or improving the energy efficiency of building envelopes in schools, office buildings and new housing, our members will be critical to the Canada of tomorrow.

We are already seeing the benefits of a worker-first green transition, such as the NextStar EV battery plant project in southwestern Ontario. I’m proud to say that SMART Canada is seizing on these opportunities to lift more families into the better life that we provide: recruiting new members, organizing nonunion workers and spreading the word far and wide about careers in our trades. As I mentioned earlier, Canada’s rich history is intertwined with the story of the union movement. Our bright future will be as well, and it is incumbent on all of us to be organizers; to help our fellow workers achieve the freedom and dignity of a union career, and to welcome every single person — no matter who they are — into our union.

Lastly, as you celebrate Canada Day with loved ones, I hope you’ll join me in honouring the generations of Canadians who have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms and democracy.

Happy Canada Day. Enjoy the holiday, and please stay safe!