John Cartwright was elected Chairperson of the Council of Canadians at the Annual Members Meeting held in June 2019. He is the Past President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, representing 200,000 union members who work in every sector of the economy. A carpenter by trade, he led the Central Ontario Building Trades Council for a decade before being elected to his current position.
Over the years Cartwright has helped develop the Campaign for Public Education, Public Transit for the Public Good, and the Toronto Waterwatch and Toronto Hydro campaigns to defend vital public services. John has been deeply involved in apprenticeship and training issues, as well as crafting the “Green Jobs Strategy” for the Canadian Labour Congress and authoring the “Greenprint for Greater Toronto.
In 2007 he led the successful $10 Minimum Wage campaign in Ontario, and went on to initiate the Good Jobs for All Coalition and the subsequent conference on Good Green Jobs for All. Since becoming Labour Council President, John has worked with affiliated unions to craft an aggressive equity agenda for Toronto’s labour movement to challenge systemic racism and the politics of hate. The Labour Council has the most diverse leadership of any central labour body in the country.
He is Co-Chair of the Toronto Community Benefits Network, which has negotiated ground-breaking agreements to provide career opportunities for women, indigenous and racialized communities on major construction projects. John has served on numerous public boards including the United Way of Greater Toronto and the Council of Canadians. He has been an active supporter of the Council since its inception.
John Cartwright on building the strength of the Council of Canadians, Annual Members Meeting, June 21-23, 2019: