Virtual job fair supports IPS workers in Durham Region

In advance of the reopening of the General Motors assembly line in Oshawa, employers in the Durham region teamed up with Unifor’s Independent Parts Supplier (IPS) Action Centre for a virtual job fair on June 10.

After Unifor launched its fiercest campaign to date, fighting for and winning the preservation of the plant’s footprint, the union successfully negotiated the return of vehicle production to ‘Canada’s motor city’ back in September 2020. With the plant set to resume building light and heavy-duty trucks this summer, Unifor’s IPS Action Centre has been extremely busy connecting workers with employers across the region, giving them the support and resources needed to navigate the process.

The virtual job fair focused on connecting former Unifor members with regional unionised employers including Sobey’s retail support centre in Whitby, parts manufacturers Android Industries and Lear Corporation in Oshawa, auto sector logistics provider TFT Global, and facilities management service provider Robinson Solutions.

“So many of the job opportunities opening up in Oshawa directly related to the return of the GM Oshawa truck assembly line,” said Trisha Judges, one of the IPS Action Centre’s two Coordinators and former Chairperson of the CEVA Logistics clerical unit. “The job fair gave our unemployed workers the best opportunity to get their questions answered and find out specific information including timelines and expectations directly from employers during the ongoing pandemic.”

The IPS Action Centre supports a broad range of unemployed workers previously working in a variety of auto-related jobs including security services, logistics, parts manufacturing, and facilities management affected by the closure of the GM Oshawa assembly line. Both the region’s IPS employers and the Government of Ontario provide funding and Unifor locals 222, 1090, and 414 help support the Centre.

Since it first opened its doors in January 2020, the Centre’s peer-led staff have provided hundreds of unemployed workers with hands-on advice, tools, and information to navigate the complex and rapidly changing financial assistance measures and job market in a familiar space located at the Unifor Local 222 hall. With the arrival of the pandemic, the Centre’s staff were forced to adapt, moving many of its services online. Despite these limitations, the Centre’s community-based approach and dedicated staff have proved how vital the Centre’s services are to former Unifor members.

Action Centre Coordinators Trisha Judges and Eva Guta“Holding the job fair online was an unfortunate necessity. But our staff worked incredibly hard and made it a resounding success,” said Eva Guta, IPS Action Centre Coordinator and former Women’s Advocate at Lear Corporation Whitby. “The past two years were incredibly hard for so many of our former members in Oshawa and throughout the Durham region. Now, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.”