Convention is a great time to learn from your fellow delegates, and from visiting experts in elections, campaigns and policy from across progressive movements and around the world.
This year, in addition to addresses from BC Premier David Eby and federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, we're pleased to welcome April Sims, President of the Washington State Labour Council.
Read more about them below.
April Sims (she/her) was elected President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO in October 2022 and was sworn in to begin her four-year term in January 2023. She is the first woman to be elected WSLC president and the first Black woman elected to the presidency of an AFL-CIO state federation. As President, Sims is the chief executive officer of the council, supervises all of its activities and staff, and leads Washington’s largest union organization representing more than half a million union members.
Sims’ lived experience is evidence of the power and potential of organized labour. The granddaughter of Louisiana sharecroppers and the daughter of a single mother, Sims has seen the power of unions to change lives. The Great Migration brought Sims’ grandfather to Washington, where his union job provided economic dignity for his family. Her mom’s union job pulled their family out of the cycle of poverty. As a young mother, it was Sims’ union job that allowed her to build economic security – and activated her as a leader in Washington’s labor movement.
In 2002, Sims joined the staff of her union, Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE), eventually serving as Legislative and Political Action Field Coordinator. April joined the WSLC staff in 2015 as Field Mobilization Director, before becoming the WSLC’s Political and Strategic Campaign Director in 2017.
In 2018, the unions that comprise the WSLC elected Sims as Secretary Treasurer of the council, the first person of colour elected as a WSLC executive officer. She served in that office, as the chief financial officer of the council, from 2019 to 2022.
An innovator and change maker, Sims is a life-long resident of Tacoma, living with her family and 110-pound chocolate lab in the gritty city she’s proud to call home.
Premier David Eby
Premier David Eby is a determined problem-solver, willing to stand up to powerful interests to get results for people.
As British Columbia’s longest-serving Attorney General in the last 30 years, David got big money out of BC elections and cracked down on money laundering in casinos and real estate. He took on opioid manufacturers and delivered a first-of-its-kind settlement to hold corporations accountable for the overdose crisis. And he removed lawyers and legal costs from the ICBC process to reduce car insurance rates by an average of $400 a year for drivers.
When he was appointed Minister of Housing in 2020, David went right to work. Under his leadership, thousands of new middle-class homes are being built all over the province, and hundreds of people experiencing homelessness have been moved from unsafe encampments to more secure housing. Now as premier, David is ready to change the game by making sure housing in BC means homes for people – not profits for wealthy investors.
Before being elected as the MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey, David was an award-winning lawyer and legal scholar. He started his career on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, defending the homes of low-income people from developers and real estate speculators. His work on human rights and democratic freedoms has been recognized by the United Nations Association in Canada, and the BC Human Rights Coalition.
He and his wife Cailey, a family doctor, welcomed their son Ezra in 2014 and their daughter Iva in 2019. In addition to his work as BC’s 37th Premier, David is an expert pillow fort engineer and dad joke connoisseur.
Leader of Canada's New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh is a lawyer, a human rights activist, and a former MPP in Ontario. Jagmeet understands the struggles Canadians are faced with because as a young man, he had to step up and take care of his family.
Recently, Jagmeet and the NDP Caucus delivered the greatest expansion of universal healthcare in generations, with the creation of a new dental care program and concrete steps towards national pharmacare.
Jagmeet is driven to make sure government delivers for people with stronger services that help create a better future for everyone.