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Ontario Federation of Labour disappointed by government push toward privatization

/EIN News/ -- TORONTO, July 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In the face of looming back-to-work legislation and cuts that will erode public services and quality of life for Ontarians, the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) vows to stand up for the hard-won rights of workers in this province.

“Today’s Throne Speech delivered disappointing news for public services in Ontario. The question we need to ask is what is going to be cut or privatized next?” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “We are already seeing cuts and cancellations to important projects, and the line-by-line audit this government is promising will almost certainly result in deep cuts across the public sector that reduce the quality of services and add financial pressure for Ontario workers and their families.”

“From moving Ontario toward greater privatization by allowing beer and wine sales in convenience and box stores, to requiring teachers to use an outdated curriculum that excludes teaching online safety and consent, to the possible return of the discriminatory practice of carding and TAVIS, this government is creating a system that does not provide the protections that Ontario workers and their families need,” added Buckley.

The government has also outlined other proposed actions outside the throne speech, including its plan to force workers back into unfair working conditions at York University.

“Legislating striking workers back to work violates their constitutional right to strike, hurting them and their families. The elimination of cap and trade and cancellations of environmental projects also come with financial and long-term health costs for all of us. This government must give its agenda a second look and change course to make life better for Ontarians, not worse,” said OFL Secretary-Treasurer Patty Coates.

Ontario is home to the most culturally diverse city in the world. The OFL calls on the government to restart its cooperation with the Federal government on resettling refugees, reopen the Ministry of the Status of Women, and restart the development of important curriculum for our students, including curriculum on Truth and Reconciliation.

The OFL has participated in consultations on street checks, otherwise known as carding, and is dismayed to hear that this discriminatory practice – along with TAVIS – may be reinstituted.

“This government must make inclusion a priority,” said OFL Vice-President Ahmad Gaied. “It is widely recognized that carding – the stopping, questioning, and documenting of individuals when no particular offence is being investigated – is a systemic violation of Black peoples', Indigenous peoples', and other racialized peoples’ human rights. Rest assured that the labour movement will not stand idly by as rights are trampled on in this province.”

Workers fought hard to achieve gains in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, including the scheduled increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, an increase that this government has said it will repeal.

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact:

Meagan Perry,
Director of Communications,
Ontario Federation of Labour
mperry@ofl.ca l 416-894-3456

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