Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

From centralization to sovereignty-association: The Canadian Labour Congress and the constitutional question

Document type Article
Author Savage, Larry
Journal Review of Constitutional Studies
Volume 13
Date 2007
Pages 149-177


This article surveys positions on constitutional reform of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) from a historical perspective. In addition to analyzing how Canada’s largest labour organization has approached issues of national unity, federalism, and constitutional reform, the article underscores how Canadian constitutional struggles were reflected within the labour movement by focusing on how constitutional politics affected the relationship between the CLC and its Québec affiliate, the (Québec Federation of Labour) FTQ. Specifically, the article traces the gradual eclipse of the CLC’s preference for centralization and the emergence of sovereignty-association as a political position which the CLC has both externalized politically and internalized organizationally.