The Kamloops and District Labour Council (KDLC) Presents Five $1,000 Bursaries

The Kamloops and District Labour Council (KDLC) presents five (5) $1,000 (one thousand dollar) – one is the Jack Kerssen bursary in a trades field of study) and the Cynthia Friedman bursary (to women in S.T.E.M or trades study) to students who are members or relatives of members of unions that are affiliated to, and in good standing with, the KDLC.

Jack Kerssens Memorial Bursary

For students in a Skilled Trades program

Jack Kerssans 1925 – 2013

Jack emigrated to Canada in 1953 from Holland.  Early on he found employment in the forest industry as a logger.  When Jack started working at the Canoe Saw Mill near Salmon Arm, it was here where he nurtured an interest in employee rights and advocated for his fellow workers in the trades. Soon he became a business agent for the International Woodworkers Association (IWA) and then was elected President of the Union.  After his retirement in 1989, he was appointed as an arbitrator for the Employment Insurance Board of Referees and also served on the B.C. Assessment Board.  Jack loved volunteering and was a 30 year member (lifetime) with the Kamloops District Labour Council. He was also very involved with the Child Development Center, YMCA , Community Futures the Credit Union and most dear to his heart was The Kamloops Hospice House. This bursary is in memory of a strong a man of strong character, always willing to lend a hand and offer advice to others.

Cynthia Friedman Memorial Bursary

For women in a S.T.E.M or Trades program

Cynthia Friedman 1971 – 2018

Cindy’s distinguished academic career included awards for teaching, research and service and many publications.  She was recognized for her commitment to social and environmental justice. She appreciated the respect of her peers in the scientific community but was most proud of her role in mentoring and inspiring students. Cindy was an active member of the Kamloops & District Labour Council and the TRU Faculty Association and advocated tenaciously for workers’ rights. She strongly believed that scientists have a duty to effect change through public engagement, an undertaking she embraced fearlessly throughout her life.

Bill Ferguson Memorial Bursary

For students in Environmental or Natural Resource Sciences

Bill Ferguson 1929 – 2021

Bill was a staunch socialist and had principles second to none in defending workers rights, peace, disarmament, and social justice.  Bill worked for the city of Kamloops, then became a business agent and was a founding member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). He loved the working class and fought for them relentlessly. In 1982 he returned to work for the City until his retirement in 1994. After retirement he continued attending union and Labour Council meetings and was awarded a lifetime membership.  He was a founding member of the Kamloops Peace Council, often a spokesperson at the annual Walk for Peace, and always a participant. Until his last breath, Bill still had hope we could make a better world for the next generation. Bill left a legacy for working people, not just in Kamloops, but across this country.

Two General Bursaries

For students in any field of study (academic or skilled trades)

Who is eligible?

  1. Members or relatives of members, of unions affiliated to and in good standing with, the KDLC.
    • Definition of a relative: a spouse of same or opposite sex, parent, child, including step-child or foster child, brother, sister, grandchild, niece, or nephew.
  2. Applicants must be registered in a full-time or part-time post-secondary program at a PUBLIC education institution.

All of the following information MUST be included in your submission to the KDLC Bursary Committee.

2024 Applications

Thank you for applying for one of this year’s bursaries. Rather than writing an essay, you will learn about the
labour movement and union activism by interviewing a union activist. Your responses to a series of prepared
questions, and two that you will write yourself will demonstrate your knowledge about union activism to the
KDLC Bursary Selection Committee.

NOTE: The definition of a union or labour activist is anyone who is actively working within their labour
organization for the betterment of the members or working people in general. The activist you interview
cannot simply be a rank-and-file member of their union because of their employment; the must hold at least ONE of the following positions:

  • Executive Board member
  • Committee member
  • Shop steward
  • Site representative
  • Union counsellor
  • Business manager
  • National Representative

NOTE: Although you must be a member, or the dependent of a member, of one of the KDLC’s affiliated
unions to apply for one of our bursaries, you may interview an activist from any union or labour organization including the Kamloops and District Labour Council, a different District Council or Regional Council, the BC Federation of Labour, or the Canadian Labour Congress.

Please ask your interview participant the following questions, getting as must thoughtful information you
can. Provide only the responses given by your interviewee, completely and accurately, without changing or
elaborating upon the details.

  1. Ask the interviewee’s full name. (mandatory)
  2. Ask the name of labour organization and local number if applicable.
  3. What is the nature of your job with your current employer?
  4. How long have you been in your current job or with your current employer?
  5. How long have you been a member of your current union or current labour organization?
  6. What is your current role in your current union or labour organization?
  7. What other roles or positions have you held within your union or labour organization?
  8. What motivated you to get involved in your union or labour organization?
  9. Do you consider yourself an activist? Why or why not?
  10. Are you involved in activism outside of your union or labour movement? If so, are you comfortable
    sharing? Please describe your role and activities.
  11. If your answered “yes” to question 10, did your labour activism inspire you to become involed in
    community activism? Or did your community activism inspire you to become involved in your union?
  12. How do you personally define “activism”?
  13. Are you comfortable sharing your level of education? If so, does your educational background pay a
    role in your passion for activism?
  14. As a union activist, what do you think are some of the most pressing issues currently being faced by
    unions or labour organizations?
  15. How do you think current and retiring union activists can inspire new and youner workers to get
  16. Open question – please ask your interviewee anything you want to know.

The intent of the interview is to have a meeting with a person done either in-person, via phone or videoconference

Application deadline is April 17th, 2024 and the application must be mailed via Canada Post (postmarked on or before April 17th) to the following address…

Bursary Committee
Kamloops and District Labour Council
Kamloops, BC
V2C 5K9

Previous Recipients

2023 Recipients

  1. Devvriti Sethi – CUPE 900 (Bill Ferguson Bursary)
  2. Jade Cutting – CUPE 4879 (Jack Kerssan Bursary)
  3. Blythe Paetkau – TRUFA (Cynthia Friedman Bursary)
  4. Ahmed Sheikh – CUPE 4879 (General)
  5. Carolyn Colling – TRUFA (General)

2021 Recipients

  1. Mya Watson – BCGEU (Bill Ferguson Bursary)
    Daughter of Mike Watson
  2. Bradley Schmidt – IBEW 993 (Jack Kerssan Bursary)
    Son of Darryl Schmidt
  3. Navin Jain – CUPE 4879 (General Award)
  4. Elissa Ony CUPE 3500 (Cynthia Friedman Bursary)
    Daughter of Christine Ony

2020 Recipients

  1. Dana Bach – CUPE 4879
  2. Calvin Heise – TRUFA
  3. Cindy Ozouf – CUPE 4879
  4. Kira Schmidt – IBEW 993 (Cindy Ross Friedman Memorial Bursary)

2019 Recipients

  1. Chris Ward – CUPE 4879
  2. Grace Heuse – TRUFA
  3. Jarrett Larsen – TRUFA
  4. Jack Kerssens Bursary – Seija Brown – TRUFA/CUPE 900
  5. Cindy Friedman Bursary – Mya Watson – BCGEU