Trades and Labor Congress of Canada

 The Trades and Labor Congress of Canada, the second Canadian central labour organization, was founded in 1883 on the initiative of the Toronto Trades and Labor Council. A successor to the Canadian Labor Union (1873-77), it first met in Toronto as the Canadian Labor Congress but changed its name to TLC at its second convention in 1886. Largely controlled by the KNIGHTS OF LABOR, the TLC initially brought together trade unionists from Ontario, but by 1900 the organization had become national in character. In 1902 at the Berlin [Kitchener], Ont, convention, however, its expulsion of all unions which were also American Federation of Labor chartered bodies ended its near hegemony of the Canadian labour movement. Thereafter the movement was splintered by national unions, by overtly socialist and syndicalist bodies, and by the rise of INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM.

In 1919 political tensions within the TLC reached crisis level, and socialist and industrial unionists bolted to form the ONE BIG UNION. After the defeats suffered by industrial unionists during the massive 1919 strike wave, the TLC re-emerged as the major central body. Its next challenge came with the renewed drive for industrial unionism led by the WORKERS UNITY LEAGUE and later by the Committee for Industrial Organization (founded 1935; became Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1938). Again splits in the US between AFL and CIO supporters led to a reluctant 1939 expulsion of Canadian industrial unionists from the TLC. The renegades founded the CANADIAN CONGRESS OF LABOUR in 1940. Rapid growth of industrial unionism during and immediately after WWII left the CCL as the major labour power.

After a hysterical witch-hunt against communists in both labour centrals in the late 1940s and early 1950s and the merger of the AFL and the CIO in the US in 1955 (see AFL-CIO), the CCL and the TLC united in 1956 to create the CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS.