Patty Coates is the President of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), Canada’s largest provincial labour federation. She is the first women elected to the position of President at the OFL Power of Many 15th Biennial Convention in 2019.
A long-time fighter for equity and former labour council activist, Patty was first elected to the OFL at the federation’s biennial convention in November 2015 as Secretary-Treasurer to help rally the members – and the resources – of a united labour movement in Ontario.
Patty is an educational assistant, a proud member of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (OSSTF), and a passionate activist. She served as the President of the Educational Assistant Bargaining Unit of OSSTF District 17 in Barrie and the surrounding area, representing educational assistants and early childhood educators. During her 18 years in that role, Patty negotiated five collective agreements with significant gains in each round of bargaining. She chaired the OSSTF Provincial Collective Bargaining Committee-Negotiations Advisory Sub Committee and was active in the OSSTF Provincial Status of Women committee and the Provincial Parliamentary and Constitution Committee. Patty was also a frequent workshop presenter.
Sister Coates was the President of the Barrie and District Labour Council for eight years and previously held the position of Vice-President and council delegate. Under Patty’s leadership, the labour council expanded its membership and activism, effectively reaching out to new local unions and members in the area.
For four years, Patty has been the labour co-chair of the Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board. She also served on the Employment Insurance Board of Referees, until it was abolished by the Harper Conservative government.
In addition, Patty is a tireless campaigner for the New Democratic Party, working as the volunteer organizer in federal election campaigns in the Barrie-Innisfil area, and holding various executive positions over the years.
Patty’s background as a labour council activist drives her commitment to community-based, grassroots labour activism that brings together union members at the local level. Her passionate commitment to equality has earned her a reputation as an active ally to equity-seeking communities, and she is a strong supporter of young women who are new to the labour movement and political activism.