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Who we are.

A proud part of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Established in 1963, CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over 628,000 members and more than 70 offices across the country. It represents workers in health care, emergency services, education, early learning and child care, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation, airlines and more. CUPE is completely democratic at all levels from, local meetings to national conventions. Rank-and-file members determine what it does, ­how it operates, where it stands on issues, and the objectives it sets for the future.

Local 79 sign
Before CUPE was founded, two major organizations represented public employees: the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) and the National Union of Public Service Employees (NUPSE). They joined forces in 1963, when delegates from both organizations decided to dissolve their respective unions and take up the fight for Canadian workers together.
Labour Day parade 2019

Working for our members since 1941.

One year after our founders first organized, the Trades and Labour Congress issued a Charter to the Toronto Municipal Association Local 79 (now CUPE Local 79) on March 23, 1942. Our goals have remained the same since inception: to advocate for better wages and working conditions on behalf of the men and women who keep Toronto running. Local 79 has always been the largest municipal local union in Canada, and grew substantially following municipal amalgamation in 1998. When the Charter was first dedicated, we represented 1,400 workers at Toronto’s City Hall and Riverdale Hospital. Today, we’re proud to represent more than 20,000 members, both full- and part-time.

Many roles, one job: to care for Toronto.

We serve as nurses, child care workers, planners, clerks, social service employees, cleaners, court services staff, ambulance dispatchers, and many other occupations supporting our neighbours and our communities. You’ll find us at civic centres, including City Hall and Metro Hall. We ensure that Toronto’s water is safe to drink and our food is safe to eat. We inspect apartment buildings, homes and workplaces. Our Public Health members work to prevent infectious diseases, and we shelter those without homes. Toronto works, lives and grows thanks in part to the passion and commitment of Local 79.

Here are a few of the places you’ll meet our members:

130+
recreation centres
58
municipally operated child care programs
16
employment resource centres
Dozens
of public health offices
Dozens
of seasonal programs providing activities for children and employment for students
10
directly operated long-term care facilities and supportive housing
The TCHC,
home to about 164,000 low and moderate-income Torontonians in 58,500 households, including seniors, refugees, newcomers and people with special needs
Bridgepoint Hospital,
an internationally recognized, 464-bed rehabilitation and complex care centre