Challenging Inequality

Meet four organizers who are pursuing principled and practical solutions to income, wealth and democratic inequality. They’re  mobilizing  people and communities on the economic margins. They’re organizing sectors with low-union density and a high percentage of precarious work. They’re participating in the public policy development process to create systemic change.

We partner with organizers like Deena, Mercedes, Rosemarie and Cathy because we share a belief in the inherent worth and dignity of all people. Together, we take on the idea that inequality is inevitable instead of a political choice. We push for changes in the systems, structures, policies and programs that hold some communities back while others race ahead. We call out the unequal distribution of power and privilege, find solutions, and propose ways to engage low wage and historically excluded workers in decisions that affect them.

In this community of partners, collaborators and allies, Atkinson’s role is to help:

  • Advance an alternative narrative about work, workers and the economy
  • Organize and support leadership learning opportunities
  • Campaign for change in public policy and corporate behaviour
  • Co-create and share knowledge from practice

Through the Atkinson Decent Work Fund, 24 current partners work on a wide range of projects to strengthen the movement for decent work and a fair economy. In everything we do, we pursue:

Equity. An economy that treats all workers fairly and impartially, and does not drive income, wealth or democratic inequality.

Sufficiency. An economy that produces enough for everyone.

Sustainability. An economy that has ecological integrity, and enables health and wellbeing.

Solidarity. An economy that promotes mutual trust and the understanding that we’re all in this together.

Protecting Each Other

COVID-19 discriminates. It’s not, as some say, the great equalizer. It lays bare existing inequalities and the cruelty of our economic system. Unable to “go home and stay home”, many Indigenous and racialized people are living — and still working — in impossible conditions. 

We stand with those who believe that no one is safe until everyone is safe. We’re a collaborator in advocating for public policies and programs that benefit everyone. We’re a supporter of persistent grassroots organizers who amplify the voices of people most affected by this crisis, and keep them connected to each other. We’re also a contributor to organizations trusted to reach those who fall through holes in public and charitable safety nets. 

So far, we’ve made three rapid response grants.

Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants for migrant workers who are experiencing extreme precarity and need emergency supports.

Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council for urban Indigenous families who are among the hardest hit by economic disruptions and need basic services like food and housing. 

North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre and the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres for Indigenous families outside Toronto who need food, personal care supplies, transportation subsidies, and other basic supports to manage during the crisis.