OTD: Labour Day a celebration of rights, livelihood, health

Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan and safety laws are now widely recognized programs that weren’t even on the radar a few decades ago.

Instrumental in promoting these initiatives, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) was commemorated on a stamp issued by Canada Post in April 2006 to marking the CLC’s 50th anniversary.

“This year is the 147th year that working people have organized to celebrate and honour the victories that workers have made, and to call for continued improvements to the lives of all Canadians,” reads the CLC’s website, which lists this year’s Labour Day parades, picnics and other events across the country.

During an existence spanning more than 60 years, the CLC is the country’s largest labour organization and protects the rights, livelihoods and health of Canadians. It came into being in 1956, when the Trades and Labour Congress and Canadian Labour Council merged; since then, the CLC has been the voice of the labour movement in Canada, “speaking out on behalf of affiliates and their members to employers, governments, and the public to ensure the rights of workers are protected and expanded.”

Steven Spazuk, designer of the domestic-rate CLC stamp, collaborated with photographer Marc Montplaisir to create an image capturing the essence of the organization, including its accomplishments, mandate and vision 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,” said 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.”

The background is similarly important, added Liz Wong, manager of stamp design and production.

“We wanted to tell a compelling story that would highlight 50 years’ worth of accomplishments,” said Wong.

“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.”

The stamp measured 29 millimetres by 40 millimetres (verticle) and was printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company using seven-colour lithography and general tagging on all four sides.

Happy Labour Day!

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