Claude Jodoin
President of the Canadian Labour Congress
In office
Preceded bynone
Succeeded byDonald MacDonald
President of Trades and Labour Congress of Canada
In office
Preceded byPercy Bengough
Succeeded bynone
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec
In office
23 March 1942 – 1944
Preceded byJoseph-Romeo Toupin (Liberal Party)
Succeeded byOmar Côté (Union Nationale Party)
Personal details
Born(1913-05-25)May 25, 1913
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
DiedMarch 3, 1975(1975-03-03) (aged 61)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Political partyQuebec Liberal Party/New Democratic Party
SpouseLilly Jodoin (née Cooke)[1]
ResidenceManotick, Ontario[2]
OccupationTrade Unionist/Politician

Claude Jodoin OC (May 25, 1913 – March 1, 1975) was a Canadian trade unionist and politician. He served as the first president of the Canadian Labour Congress from 1956 to 1966.


Born in the Montreal suburb of Westmount, Jodoin was educated at Brebeuf College. In 1937 he became an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union serving as a Canadian manager of the union from 1947 to 1951.[3]

Political career

From 1940 to 1942 and again from 1947 to 1954 he served as an alderman on Montreal City Council. He was elected in the 23 March 1942 by-election to the National Assembly of Quebec, as a member of the Quebec Liberal Party, representing the Montréal–Saint-Jacques electoral district.[4] He lost his seat in 1944 and was defeated in an attempt to regain a seat in the Legislature as an independent candidate in 1948. He had been leader of the Young Liberals of Canada in 1939. He was offered a seat in the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent in 1956 but turned it down.[1]

Despite his earlier involvement with the Liberal Party, Jodoin supported the decision by the Canadian Labour Congress to work with the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation to found the New Democratic Party in 1961. Speaking in 1960, he said "The Congress, and I as its president, believe that the need for a new party is greater today than it was even a year and a half ago.[5] Speaking to the NDP's founding convention, Jodoin said "A labour movement that is without interest in political matters is a labour movement that is evading one of the most fundamental responsibilities."[6]

Union activism

From 1944, Jodoin served as the first chair of the Trade and Labour Council of Canada's National Standing Committee on Racial Discrimination.[7]

Jodoin had served as president of the Montreal Trades and Labour Council and became president of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada in 1954. He led the TLC in unity talks with the Canadian Congress of Labour that lead to their merger, creating the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).[3] In 1956, the year the CLC formally came into existence, he became its founding president.[8] He won election five times as the Labour Congress' president, the last in 1966.[3] In May 1967, he suffered a debilitating stroke, that forced him to step-down from day-to-day duties as the president.[3] He would never recover from the stroke, and spent the rest of his years in an Ottawa hospital.[3] Despite his disability, and as a sign of respect, he remained as president, though in title only, until his term was over.[3] Donald MacDonald became the acting president until he was elected to the position at the CLC's 1968 convention.[9]


Jodoin's tombstone in Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery.

Near the end of his life, Jodoin received many awards in recognition for his union and political work. Most of the major honours came in 1967, when he was appointed to the Order of Canada in its inaugural year,[2] and the Centennial Medal that marked Canada's 100th birthday.[3] That same year, he received an honorary doctorate of law from the University of New Brunswick.[8] In 1972, he was named to the Labor Hall of Honor.[3] On 1 March 1975, Jodoin finally succumbed to the medical complications brought on by his stroke.[3] He was buried in Montreal three days later in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French). National Assembly of Quebec.
  2. ^ a b "Honours, Order of Canada: Claude Jodoin, O.C." Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Canadian Press (1975-03-03). "Labor leader driving force behind the CLC". The Globe and Mail. Toronto: CTVglobemedia. p. 9.
  4. ^ Claude Jodoin, "The Challenge of 1963 Archived 2006-11-16 at the Wayback Machine" in The Empire Club of Canada Speeches 1962-1963, edited by Douglas Best, R. Ford Ralph and R. J. Wood (Toronto, Ontario: The Empire Club Foundation, 1963) pp. 122-130 (accessed 3 November 2006).
  5. ^ Quoted in A Labor Party for Canada", The Western Socialist, Vol. 27 - No. 212 (1 November 1960), pg. 12-13 (accessed 3 November 2006).
  6. ^ Quoted in Bill Tieleman, "Libs Cling to Big Lie That Labour Funds NDP[permanent dead link]", Vancouver, 3 November 2005 (accessed 3 November 2006).
  7. ^ Ross Lambertson, ""The Dresden Story": Racism, Human Rights, and the Jewish Labour Committee of Canada", Labour/Le Travail, No. 47 (Spring 2001) (accessed 3 November 2006).
  8. ^ a b "Claude Jodoin, 61 founding president of Labor Congress". The Toronto Star. Toronto: Torstar. 1975-03-03. pp. C23.
  9. ^ Canadian Press (1986-09-27). "Donald MacDonald--CLC founder earned international acclaim". The Globe and Mail. Toronto: CTVglobemedia. pp. D8.
National Assembly of Quebec Preceded byJoseph-Roméo Toupin Member of the National Assemblyfor Montréal–Saint-Jacques 1942–1944 Succeeded byOmer Côté Trade union offices New office President of the Canadian Labour Congress 1956–1968 Succeeded byDonald MacDonald