Challenging Inequality

Atkinson is part of a relentless global movement of workers, community organizers, and policy innovators who believe inequality is not inevitable. It’s a choice. We choose to change the systems, structures, policies and programs that hold some back while others race ahead.

Meet four community organizers who believe the health of everyone depends on the well-being of everyone else. They mobilize people on the economic margins. They’re leaders in sectors with low-union density and a high percentage of precarious work. They’re focused on the public policy development process to create deep and lasting systemic change. Click on their photos to hear them talk about their part in this collective effort.

Deena Ladd, Mercedes Sharpe Zayas, Rosemarie Powell and Cathy Taylor are among those who advocate for essential workers and their families: personal support workers, child care workers, migrant workers, caregivers, and everyone who finds themselves juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet on a low wage. They’re also organizing to leverage multi-billion dollar public infrastructure investments for jobs, apprenticeships, affordable housing, and other economic opportunities.

Business owners, environmentalists, economists, health care practitioners, academics and students, elected officials and public servants, journalists, artists and other philanthropists — so many of us are rallying around the “large” ideas of decent work and a fair economy. In this time of physical distancing, all of us are figuring out how to stay connected safely.

The Ontario Employment Education and Resource Centre is co-hosting weekly informational webinars on workers’ rights during COVID-19. The Workers’ Action Centre and the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign are their co-hosts.

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change is participating in this digital campaign about migrant workers’ realities. Listen to their challenges here.

The Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre and the Parkdale People’s Economy Project have organized the Parkdale Mutual Aid Network. It’s a network of neighbourhood ‘pods’, organized block by block. Neighbours check in on neighbours – pooling resources to help each other. They use digital tools like WhatsApp and phone trees to stay connected.

ACORN Canada has turned research about the status of renters into a campaign for a rent break and eviction prevention. Nothing has stopped because of the pandemic. In fact, their membership base continues to grow.

The Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) is hosting webinars on the power of proxy voting and other tools to build a sustainable, inclusive and productive economy.


Atkinson has made COVID-19 emergency relief a high priority while upholding our current Atkinson Decent Work Fund commitments. We’re keeping board, staff, partners and collaborators connected in old and new ways. Telephone conferences. Weekly coffee breaks. Webinars. E-letters and social media posts. We’re sharing our reflections on this unusual time here

We look forward to connecting in person again soon. Our last big face-to-face gathering marked the 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organization in 2019. 100 movement leaders from across Canada, the US and the UK came together for a celebration and a dialogue on the future of workers. Learn more about it here.