Labour Day 2023

August 11, 2023

Labour Day falls on the first Monday in September. While many Canadians may think of Labour Day as the unofficial end to the summer, it is actually a day of great significance for the labour movement and workers' rights.

In 1872, at a time when unions were still illegal in Canada, a demonstration was held in support of striking workers from the Toronto Typographical Union who were fighting for a shorter work week. What began as a group of 2,000 workers marching through the city streets became a parade of 10,000, standing together at Queen's Park in solidarity. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald sided with the workers and eventually passed the Trade Unions Act, which repealed outdated laws and decriminalized unions.

The events in Toronto showed the power of workers to influence public opinion and shape policy through solidarity. Parades supporting and celebrating workers' rights became annual traditions across Canada, and in 1894, Labour Day was declared a national holiday.

Today, we recognize the efforts of those early leaders of the labour movement. Across Canada, we come together to honour those who have fought to ensure better rights, wages and working conditions for all workers, and to speak out about ongoing labour issues and injustices.

ONA members have taken stands on major labour concerns in health care, including workplace violence, health and safety, safe staffing and pay equity. They are committed to standing up for any issues that directly affect their ability to deliver high quality care to Ontarians.

As the roles our members play in the health-care system grow and evolve, ONA will continue working to ensure safe practice settings for health-care workers and patients.


We encourage ONA members, family, and friends to join us and other labour leaders in celebrating this Labour Day.

See the Canadian Labour Congress list of 2023 Labour Day Events for events in your community.

Have photos you'd like to share with the ONA community? Submit them via email to, or tag us on social media.


Learn More

If you have a labour relations issue, have recently started a new job but have not signed up through your union representative, or have questions/concerns about your contract or working conditions, please contact your Bargaining Unit President.