October Monthly Member Profile: Sandrine Oka

I have been politically engaged and active on many causes, such as women’s rights, racism and war, since my university years. In 1991, I was part of a group of students in solidarity with PSAC members during this important strike.

My first union involvement was in the early 90s, when I worked for a non-profit youth organization and was an active member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE / SCFP) and my International Solidarity Committee, as well as delegate for my union on the Ottawa & District Labor Council (ODLC/CTDO).

After joining the Public Service, I became actively involved in my new union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), during the 2001 days of action on picket lines.

Oppression and women’s rights have always been a core conviction and a passion for me since my early youth. During the 90s I was part of the Pro-Choice Network / Réseau Pro Choix, a community group that helped open the abortion clinic in Ottawa.

I am a founding member of a group called the Radical Handmaids/Servantes radicales, which is composed of feminist activists from various socio-economic backgrounds in the community, and who raise awareness on, and fight for, women’s reproductive rights, in creative ways, since 2012.

I have been an active member of the Regional Committee for Francophone Women of the PSAC-NCR (CRFF) for several years, and have been president for about 4 years. The main priorities we have been working on to date include awareness raising on, and the fight against, violence against women; discussions and analysis on current issues impacting women in society; mobilizations such as the World March of Women; and training to empower and equip our activists.

I have been president of my local for more than 8 years (Department of Canadian Heritage), where my role is to help members know and understand their rights, advise them, and represent them. My goal is to contribute to a healthy work environment and to work collaboratively with other like-minded parties.

In addition, I am a member of the PSAC-NCR Regional Council Executive and the NCR Human Rights Representative for my component, the Union of National Employees.

My approach: to work with principle, integrity, honesty, and professionalism in all that I undertake. Being a unionist and activist is not a prestige, although I am proud of it, but a societal responsibility that I do out of conviction.