Since officially launched in 2009, the Agriculture Social Justice Fund has had a marked impact on the lives of deserving men, women and children both here and abroad.

The AUSJF is pleased to announce that it has now approved a new project for funding and renewed support for three more.

A first donation is to Edmonton’s Tevie Miller Heritage School Society to help ensure children in the greater Alberta capital area have access to daily sessions with a Speech Language Pathologist.

The School serves 115 children from grades one to six who have moderate to severe speech disabilities. Although partnered with the Edmonton Public School Board, the School receives no funding from the Board. As well, financial support from Alberta Government is limited due to the concern whether this is an educational or a health issue.

A donation from the AUSJF will help meet the funding shortfall and offer the speech pathologist’s valuable professional services to these special needs children.

The second AUSJF-supported project is the High School Carpentry Apprenticeship Program (HCAP) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Program is a partnership among the Saskatoon Public School Division, Habitat for Humanity and Whitecap Dakota First Nations.

It aims to help high school students – particularly those who might otherwise be academically at-risk – who are interested in a career in the trades to gain skills and discipline through extensive on-the job training.

Students are taught all aspects of building a house: from pouring the foundation, to plumbing, electrical and exterior finishing.  They work with mentors in specific trade areas and are taught how to work safely on a job site.

Students also develop teamwork and leadership skills and are given an opportunity to be of service to their community both locally and globally through such projects as We See You Tanzania, We See You Malawi and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

The AUSJF has also approved the release of previously-approved funds to support the Organization of Collective Co-operatives of Zimbabwe. OCCZIM promotes and develops village chicken production co-ops throughout the southern African nation by training and educating villagers on the raising and economics of chicken production.

OCCZIM’s work providing a means of nutrition and self-sufficiency is particularly critical as Zimbabwe has swung from severe drought conditions to raging flooding in the face of limited government assistance.

Last, but far from least, the AUSJF has continued to support a perennial good cause – Local 4’s annual gift of approximately 350 lbs of dressed beef to Prince Edward Island food banks. This generosity means a happier Easter for many of PEI’s less fortunate families.

For the better part of the past decade, Local 4 members have attended the Easter Beef Show and Sale in Charlottetown looking for the best beef on the hoof. In addition to the AUSJF, money for purchase of the steer is donated by Local 4 itself and our bargaining agent, the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Once purchased, the Local arranges for the beef to be dressed, packaged and delivered to the Charlottetown and Summerside Food Banks. The donation not only demonstrates the Local’s commitment to social justice, but also serves as a goodwill gesture towards the Island beef industry and underscores the important role played by the CFIA and its Agriculture Union members in food safety and security.

As always, more information about these and other AUSJF projects can be found HERE on our Web site.