ATU Canada Gender Equity Report

Using the ATU Canada Gender Equity Report as a launching point for conversation, ATU Canada Organizer Madelin Burt-D’Agnillo will guide delegates through the Report’s findings, provide tools to replicate the initiative’s fact-finding function, and encourage reflection on the gendered dynamics of the union and the value in increasing inclusivity for all members.

“Unions can be just as discriminatory as employers, just as discriminatory as tax laws, just as biased in favour of men as the rest of society.”   -  Grace Hartman, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in 1975,  first female president of a major Canadian Union.


This presentation will encourage delegates to think critically about, and practice accountability regarding the status of women in ATU workplaces and unions. 

At the core of this initiative is an understanding that a union suffers when women are not engaged. Barriers experienced by women prevent a high-participation, high-functioning union for all. In removing barriers to full union participation for women, more members will participate in union work, meaning that there is more power to win! 

The Gender Equity Survey was a valuable and meaningful first step in uncovering the issues and identifying the challenges to Gender Equity in ATU Canada workplaces and union structures. The ensuing Report is an awareness-raising tool, highlighting concerns and offering suggestions for how to move forward. While challenges were revealed, the overall tone of this initiative was one of optimism and hopefulness.

Executive Summary Overview:

The ATU Canada Gender Equity Report seeks to understand the state of gender dynamics and recognize the nature and scope of gender inequality for women in ATU Canada. It identifies widely-felt concerns of ATU Canada women regarding barriers to inclusivity and equity in their workplaces and their union. This initiative seeks to understand these issues in order to address and remedy them. The Report articulates key themes and patterns gathered from members’ participation in the Gender Equity Survey (2019) and related communications. It aggregates member insights and suggestions, academic research, and best practices from Canadian labour unions to make recommendations for actionable next steps for ATU Canada to create a Gender Equity Strategy. In so doing, ATU Canada’s leadership has an opportunity to gain forward momentum, to improve women's position in ATU Canada, and to build power for the union.




Madelin Burt-D’Agnillo, Organizer at ATU Canada, is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, where she majored in Ethics, Society, and Law, and minored in Women and Gender Studies, and Russian Language. As a transit rider and new organizer, Madelin brings a deep commitment to public transit and readiness to build strong relationships with union members. She has been working to engage union members in political advocacy campaigns and assist the ATU Canada Executive Board in developing a Gender Equity Strategy for the national union.