Unifor’s National Education Department offers an extensive year-round Labour Education Programme across the country in the communities where our members live as well as at our Family Education Centre (FEC) in Port Elgin, Ontario. We offer courses on a whole range of subjects that range in length: One day, three day and one week courses.
Our Education Program aims to provide members with a perspective on the historical context of being workers, understand the role of unions in defending their interests and the opportunity to envision the world we want to live in. We want to ‘fire up our members’ and support them on their journey to activism in their workplaces, locals, in the broader union and the community.
If you are interested in learning more about the available courses that are taught locally and at the Family Education Centre, follow this link to read the descriptions. This will also show if the program is available as a Local Area Course (1-3 days) or only available at the Family Education Centre in Port Elgin (5+ days).
Unifor’s National Education Department releases their schedules approximately twice per year. The current Family Education Centre schedule can be found here.
If you find a course that you are interested, please print off the PEL Application, complete it and send to the Local 4285 office, either via email or mail. They will also require a copy of your most recent Pay Stub to process your application.
Applications are reviewed by the Local President and will be approved or denied based on available PEL Funding (which is bargained for during contract negotiations) and demand or requirement due to a persons role or activism. Educated and Engaged members are at the top of our Wish List, so members who have shown an interest in getting involved will take priority during application processing, if the funds are available.
Unifor National also offers Local Area Courses to help locals who have financial limitations or require/ desire multiple member training that would make sending persons to the Family Education Centre financially impossible.
If you see a course that you would like to take in the Local Area Course Schedule, you may complete and submit an application here, that will go to the Local Office for processing. To apply for these courses you must first register with the Unifor Education Department at the above link.
Family Education Program
Since the early 1970’s our Union has offered a Family Education Program for members and their families. The program takes place during the summer months at the Unifor Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario. A call letter is sent to all Unifor locals in January, with a registration deadline in April. Selection is complete by early May.
If selected by the local/national union to attend, the member agrees to give up their vacation time and the national union covers costs for meals and accommodations while at the Unifor Family Education Centre, and where required, air travel. Preteens participate in recreational programs run by fully-trained child care workers and counselors.
Teenagers participate in a specially-designed program which recognizes their unique interests but also incorporates the issues of social unionism in their curriculum.
Adults, both members and their spouse/partner, combine learning and recreational activities and come away from the program with a better understanding of how to integrate trade unionism and social activism in the life of the family and community.
Through small group discussions, case studies, video presentations, guest speakers, role plays, art, music and other activities, participants draw from their own experiences and learn from each other about environmental, workplace, political, human rights, and social issues affecting all of us, our families, and working people around the world.
Every Unifor member, and their immediate family members, including dependent children up to 18 years of age, are eligible to attend the Family Education Program.