When Jerry Dias’s family immigrated to Canada from Guyana 65 years ago, they had no idea that Scarborough would become a lot more than just their address.
Jerry, the National President of Unifor, has a solid connection to Scarborough. Jerry and his three sisters grew up surrounded by the vibrant and diverse community, and when they needed stitches after a hockey game, they went to their local Scarborough hospital.
“I’ve always felt an attachment to Scarborough,” Jerry tells us. “The whole makeup of Scarborough is in my blood. There’s such a sense of community and of giving back to those who have helped you, and I’m tremendously grateful for everything Scarborough has done for my family and me.”
Because of this connection, Jerry wanted to give back to the community that supported him. As the National President of Unifor, Jerry decided to make a $125,000 donation from the Unifor Social Justice Fund to the Scarborough Health Network (SHN) to help us in the fight against COVID-19 and create a brighter, healthier future for Scarborough.
“Unifor is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families in Canada and around the world,” Jerry said. “The Fund promotes and supports the role of unions and workers groups in their efforts to strengthen democracy, promote equitable development, and contribute to poverty reduction, social justice, education reform, and health care for everyone.”
Disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, Scarborough has recently seen the highest number of admissions to our hospitals since the pandemic began. With several Scarborough residents working as essential workers on the frontlines, Jerry knew it was critical to support his members in a meaningful way.
“We represent workers in all industries – from personal support workers to dieticians and laundry staff to transit workers,” says Jerry. “Our members are truly the heroes of COVID-19, and we wanted to give back to the community where so many of them live and work.”
By supporting SHN, Jerry and Unifor recognize not only the courageous frontline health care workers but all of the essential workers who have put themselves at risk throughout the pandemic.
“Unifor has tens of thousands of members that work and live in Scarborough, and thousands of them are in the health care sector,” Jerry continues. “We understand firsthand what our members have been going through during this pandemic, and we wanted to show them that we’re part of the solution and are supporting them in the important work they’re doing.”
Unifor believes that investing in health care in Scarborough, it leads to a healthier community that can stay resilient and come out on the other side of these challenging times.
“There are a lot of people from Scarborough who have become very successful,” Jerry tells us. “I’m challenging them to give back to the community that gave them so much and not to forget their roots. I’m tremendously thankful for everything Scarborough has done for my family and me, and I encourage others who share my story to think about where they started.”
Unifor’s gift of $125,000 will be instrumental in ensuring our Scarborough hospitals can continue to provide exceptional care to our vibrant community. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Jerry, the Unifor Social Justice Fund, and the entire Unifor organization for their support during these difficult times and for recognizing our courageous staff who continue to keep our community safe.
If you would like to join Jerry and the Unifor Social Justice Fund and support your local hospitals, visit SHNFoundation.ca/donate to make a donation.