Sonia Regenbogen, partner in our Toronto office, was elected the global employer spokesperson for the Committee on the Application of Standards at the 2022 International Labour Conference (ILC) at the International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO is a UN agency devoted to promoting social justice and labour rights. It is the only tripartite UN agency with representatives of governments, employers and workers in its governance structure. This tripartite structure makes the ILO a unique forum in which the governments and social partners of its 187 member states can debate issues related to the stimulation of decent employment growth through sustainable enterprises; the promotion rights at work; the enhancement of social protection; and the strengthening of social dialogue.
The ILC, which is often called an international parliament of labour, has several main tasks. First, there is the drafting and adoption of new international labour standards and the revision, withdrawal and abrogation of outdated ILS. The ILC also supervises in the Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) the application of international labour standards at the national level on topics ranging from freedom of association and right to collective bargaining, anti-discrimination, child labour and health and safety issues.
The work of the ILO is relevant to Canadian business because any ILO international labour standard, resolution, declaration, initiative, policy, program, and the outcome of the supervisory system can have a direct impact on national and regional policy discussions and regulatory frameworks, day-to-day management decisions and future business projects.