David Heap receives United Way Labour Appreciation Award for commitment to social justice

David Heap’s life has been steeped in social justice work. As a boy, his parents – both trade unionists – would take him to labour council meetings in Toronto, where he would learn about the struggles many citizens and organizations were working to overcome.

For Heap, labour meetings became “a vital part of community work and a vital part of relating to how folks in the community struggled for better conditions at work and struggled for better conditions for everyone in society,” he said.

Heap, an associate professor in French Studies and longtime UWOFA member, is a 2019 recipient of the United Way Elgin Middlesex Labour Appreciation Award. He and his fellow recipients received their awards at a ceremony held in London on Thursday, Jan. 10.

Heap has been a peace and social justice activist, trade unionist, and feminist for much of his adult and professional life. Not only has he written and commented about social justice and human rights issues but he believes in action, having participated in the Gaza Freedom March and Canadian Boat to Gaza campaigns. Issues of social inequity compel Heap to act in support of those who are oppressed with an ideal of a just society for all.

Locally, Heap invests in the community where he lives. He has been a member of the London & District Labour Council as an official observer representing UWOFA. He has organized the Association’s participation in the annual London & District Labour Council’s Labour Day picnic and is an active participant in Pride activities. On campus, Heap has coordinated the Strike Action Committee for UWOFA during each occasion where contract negotiations reached that point.

“David’s belief in a vibrant and fair community for workers drives his motivations,” UWOFA president Dan Belliveau wrote in the nomination letter. “He indeed typifies a member in the trenches where his active efforts and passionate beliefs for social justice issues globally and locally make David an ideal candidate for the Labour Appreciation Award.”