HSAA "Union Talks" Speaker Series

HSAA hosted 5 evenings with dynamic, engaging speakers!

Why does Health Matter to Albertans?

Health-care workers and service providers have a unique role to play in advancing the discussion on health care as a central political issue. In the lead up to the provincial election, HSAA held a series of energizing and thought-provoking talks on important issues that affect the health and well-being of Albertans. HSAA hosted leading advocates, practitioners and scholars to share their knowledge with union members and the public.

Each talk was live-streamed and you can watch each recording now!  Details in each event drop-down below.



Watch the recorded live stream now!

Speaker – Dr. Glynnis Lieb
Topic – “So Close Yet So Far: Why Social Activism is Imperative Right Now, in Alberta”

Glynnis holds a PhD in Personality and Social Psychology. She has worked both for government and not-for-profit social services organizations, as employee and in supervisory/managerial roles. She is also a post-secondary instructor and has held sessional positions in five institutions in Manitoba and Alberta over the past 14 years. The majority of her work has centered around mental illness and addiction services.

Glynnis believes in strongly community involvement and social activism. She sits on a number of boards for entities that are health or social justice focused. She has been a union activist for much of her adult life, currently serving as an officer on locals two separate unions.

Glynnis also volunteers for a number of community organisations. Through this volunteerism, she is an active supporter of local arts, poverty reduction initiatives, mental health and addiction education and support, LGBTQ2+ community members, offender rehabilitation programs, supports for people with disabilities, and anti-discrimination initiatives.

Watch the recorded live stream now!

Speakers – Julia-Maria Becker, Pembina Institute
Topic – “Transitioning to a New Energy Economy in Alberta”

Julia-Maria Becker is the director of the Pembina Institute’s clean economy program in Alberta. She works on corporate, government and community-based
sustainability projects in Alberta relating to clean economy with a focus on energy efficiency and carbon pricing. Before joining the Pembina Institute — Canada’s leading energy think tank — Julia worked for an international organization, Student Energy, where she led the Energy Literacy Platform; she is now on the board of directors of Student Energy. She also worked at Alberta Ecotrust where she was responsible for the organization’s social innovation lab. Julia has worked for German and Mexican government institutions and has a Master of Development Economics and a Bachelor of International Economics. She is involved in a local community group that brings together citizens to discuss climate change and has participated in panel discussions on the clean energy transition throughout Alberta and at international conferences in Europe, Mexico and Canada.

Speakers – Gil McGowan, Alberta Federation of Labour
Topic – “Diversification is No Longer an Option: A Clear-eyed at What’s Happening to the Global Oil Market and Why Alberta Needs Action Now”

Gil McGowan is president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), Alberta’s largest union advocacy organization.

McGowan, a father of three, has presided over a period of substantial growth for the AFL. He has led public discussion and policy changes on resource development, reform of the temporary foreign worker program, climate change and green jobs, a $15 minimum wage, pension reform, reforms to the labour code and employment standards, and reforms to occupational health and safety and WCB legislation.

In 2015, Gil was named one of Alberta’s 50 most influential people. Gil sits on the CLC’s Canadian Council and was Co-Chair of the Energy Diversification Advisory Committee (EDAC), and was recently appointed to the Federal Just Transition Task Force to support transition strategies for workers/communities affected by the coal phase-out.

Watch the recorded live stream now!

Speaker – Dr. Bob Barnetson
Topic – 9 to 5: Labour Standards in Alberta

Bob Barnetson is a professor of labour relations at Athabasca University. His research focuses on the political economy of workplace injury, farm workers, and child labour in Alberta. He’s the author of The Political Economy of Workplace Injury in Canada (Athabasca University Press, 2010), co-editor of Farm Workers in Western Canada: Injustices and Activism (University of Alberta Press, 2016) and co-author of Health and Safety in Canadian Workplaces (Athabasca University Press, 2016).

Watch the recorded live stream now!

(Note: Due to technical issues during the live stream, there may be portions of this video where the mics cut out.)

Speaker – Ian Hussey
Topic – Alberta’s Economy & Budget: What we have, what we could have

Ian Hussey is a research manager at Parkland Institute. He is also a steering committee member and the Alberta research manager for the SSHRCC-funded Corporate Mapping Project. Before joining Parkland Institute, Ian worked for several international development organizations, including as the co-founder and executive director of the Canadian Fair Trade Network. Ian holds BA Honours degrees in Sociology and in English from Acadia University, an MA in Sociology from the University of Victoria, and his PhD courses and exams at York University focused on the sociology of colonialism and on political economy. His writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, New Political Economy, Edmonton Journal, National Observer, and The Tyee.

Watch the recorded live stream now!

Speaker – Dr. Trevor Harrison, Heather Smith, Mike Parker
Topic – Presenting and responding to the recently published report, “Alberta in Context: Health care under NDP governments”

Dr. Trevor Harrison is Professor of Sociology, in the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Lethbridge, Research Affiliate of the Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy and Director of the Parkland Institute.

Heather Smith is President of the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA).

Mike Parker is the President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta.