Shirley Carr

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Shirley Carr
OC, OOnt
5th President of the Canadian Labour Congress
In office
Preceded by Dennis McDermott
Succeeded by Bob White
Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress
In office
President Joe Morris
Dennis McDermott
Personal details
Born May 1929 (1929-05)[1]
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Died June 24, 2010(2010-06-24) (aged 81)[2]
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Shirley Geraldine Edwina Carr, OC OOnt (May 1929 – June 24, 2010) was a Canadian union leader who was the first woman president of Canada's largest labour organization, the Canadian Labour Congress.

Union Activism[edit]

Carr first became active in the labour movement in 1960, when she was employed at the Regional Municipality of Niagara Falls and a member of CUPE Local 133. She became general vice-president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in 1969, and also served as president of CUPE's Ontario Division between 1972 and 1974.[3] Between 1974 and 1984, she held the position of Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress. In 1984, she became Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC, and in 1986 was elected its President.

CLC Presidency[edit]

As president of the CLC, she began Canadian labour's campaign against the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, a deal promoted by then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the late US President Ronald Reagan and signed in 1988. She was a pioneer in using the technique of seeking support for labour's goals from other organizations in the community, and this strategy was ultimately responsible for turning the tide of public opinion against the trade deal.

Honours and Positions[edit]

As the first female president of Canada's largest labour federation, Carr was awarded numerous honours. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1980 and a Member of the Order of Ontario in 1995. She received the Centennial Medal for Exemplary Contribution to Vocational/Technical Education in 1980, the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Federation in 1992, and the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in 1994.[4] She was also awarded honorary doctorates from Acadia University, Brock University, McMaster University, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Western Ontario, University of Victoria, and York University.[5]


  1. ^ "When was Shirley Carr born?",, Retrieved on 2010-06-26.
  2. ^ "Obituary", Retrieved on 2010-06-26.
  3. ^ "» Shirley Carr | CURC". Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  4. ^ "» Shirley Carr | CURC". Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  5. ^ "Shirley CARR - Obituaries - Niagara Falls, ON - Your Life Moments". Retrieved 2016-04-10. 

External links[edit]

Trade union offices
Preceded by
Dennis McDermott
President of the Canadian Labour Congress
Succeeded by
Bob White