Jim Sinclair


Interviewed by Ken Novakowski

Jim Sinclair was born and raised in Ontario, where his early work experiences brought him into conflict with employers and demonstrated the need to advocate for workers.

He moved to Vancouver and worked there for Co-op Radio and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and in Nelson for the Nelson Daily News. Jim then organized workers and bargained collective agreements for fishers and shore workers in the fishermen’s union and worked on their paper. Jim was committed to improving health and safety among them.

From the end of 1999 to 2014, Jim provided strong leadership as the president of the BC Federation of Labour. He involved young workers who had often been ignored before. Jim showed the people of B.C. that the labour movement stood for improvements for the entire working class, especially using health and safety as the example. Advocating for farm workers’ safety was but one example of standing up for the disadvantaged. Another significant campaign was for protection for gas station attendants who were forced to work alone at night. Campaigning to raise the minimum wage is another.

A confirmed internationalist from his early days, Jim has been involved with solidarity work with workers in Latin America and South Africa.

Since leaving the Fed in 2014, Jim wrote a history of the B.C. construction unions, and currently chairs the SFU Labour Studies Program Advisory Committee and Fraser Health.



NDP; McDonald’s; Latin American Working Group; picket line; scabs; Confederation of Canadian Unions (CCU); Madeleine Parent; Kent Rowley; 1973 Chile coup; Salvadore Allende; Co-op Radio; Bill Saunders; Art Pape; Rick Salter; Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs; Energy File; uranium mining; Kootenays; Nelson Daily News; Rita Moore; Nicaragua; Sandinistas; Lyle Kristiansen; Kent Commission; Geoff Meggs; Fishermen’s Union; George Hewison; Jack Nichol; fishermen safety; shore workers safety; ice auger; Action Caucus; Tools for Peace; Trade Union Group; B.C./Nicaragua Solidarity Society; Canadian Labour Congres (CLC); South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU); Canadian Auto Workers (CAW); CoDevelopment Canada (CODEV); South Africa; Central America; North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); free trade; Action Canada Network; Vince Ready; B.C. Federation of Labour (BCFed); president; farm workers; health and safety; Grant De Patie; gas station; working alone; Young Workers’ Committee; Olga Ilich; labour minister; Bill 29; women’s jobs; immigrant women; Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU); Teachers’ Union; Solidarity Ferry; Count Me In campaign; building trades; history of B.C. construction unions book; temporary foreign workers; SFU Labour Studies Program; Margaret Morgan; fishing boat for Nicaragua; Kendra Strauss; COVID; Health Authority; Fraser Health

Download Transcript