Canada’s first Labour Day event took place in 1872. The movement was sparked in Toronto, where the Printer’s Union was the first to lobby for a shorter, more manageable work week. They were inspired by workers in Hamilton, Ontario, who had earlier lobbied for a nine-hour work day. I don’t think today that people appreciate the kinds of hours and weeks that workers had to go through in order to keep a job! We are so lucky today to reap the benefits of all of their strife and hard work, with the wonderful labour laws in Canada.
Take a few minutes today to think of those workers, who had to labour from early morning to late evening, often with few or no days off every year, no rights to ask for sick time, let alone vacation, or workplace safety regulations, or a boss who treated them decently. Enjoy your day off, and maybe take a minute to check out this online exhibit from the Canadian Museum of history about the Labour movement!
There’s also a great TED talk about the history of Labour Day, but if you don’t have time to read or watch anything long, at least check out the snippet below, and let me know what your Labour Day plans are in the comments!