The Canadian Labour Congress is a national Union Central founded on 23 April 1956 from the merger of the Canadian Congress of Labour and the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada. The One Big Union was absorbed into the CLC, but Québec's Catholic unions chose to remain apart (see Confederation of National Trade Unions). In 1961 the CLC and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation leaders joined to form the New Democratic Party, a link that has been maintained ever since.
In 1997 there were 2.5 million trade unionists affiliated with the CLC through 51 international and national unions. Economic and legislative questions of national importance constitute a major focus of the CLC. Provincial and territorial federations of labour and municipal labour councils co-ordinate comparable programs of CLC affiliates. Every third year some 3000 delegates from affiliated unions convene to set policy for the central body. Between conventions, policy decisions are made by the 47-member executive council. The CLC headquarters are in Ottawa.