On today’s date in 1956, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) formed in Toronto after a merger of the Canadian Congress of Labour and the Trades and Labour Congress.
Now in its 62nd year, the CLC has been instrumental in initiating programs to help protect the rights, livelihoods and health of Canadian workers by uniting dozens of national and international unions, provincial and territorial federations of labour and community-based labour councils. Altogether, it has represented more than three million workers.
In 2006, Canada Post featured the CLC on a 51-cent stamp (Scott #2149) to mark its 50th anniversary. Printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company on Tullis Russell Coatings coated paper, the stamp depicts both a black and a white hand holding the globe, with the dates “1956-2006” and the words “CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS / CONGRES DU TRAVAIL DU CANADA.” The stamps were issued in panes of 16, with a total of 3,000,000 printed, each measuring 29 millimetres by 40 millimetres.
Stamp designer Steven Spazuk collaborated with photographer Marc Montplaisir to capture the essence of the organization, including its past accomplishments, present mandate and goals for the future.
“After looking at a number of concepts, we decided to go with a depiction of the Canadian Labour Congress logo – only with a twist,” explained Spazuk. “It’s really a photographic interpretation of the logo. The image shows two hands holding a crystal ball that contains a silhouette of North America. One hand is masculine, the other feminine, one white and the other black.”
Additionally, the background is an important part of the design.
“We wanted to tell a compelling story that would highlight 50 years’ worth of accomplishments,” explained Liz Wong, stamp design manager with Canada Post. “If you look closely at the background, you’ll see it’s a tapestry that lists (in English and French) many of the benefits that unionized and non-unionized Canadian workers have received over the past 50 years. Thanks to Mr. Spazuk’s brilliant design work, the image succeeds in capturing the organization’s past, present and future.”