Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

February 16, 2010 17:43 ET

Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan: "Northern Ontario Needs a 'Jobs Budget'"

OFL Brings Communities That Work Campaign to Thunder Bay

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2010) -

February 17, 2010
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: Thunder Bay Labour Centre,
Charter Room 'A', 929 Fort William Road

Newly elected Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan will be in Thunder Bay on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 to discuss the OFL's campaign to ensure that the upcoming provincial budget focuses on the preservation and creation of good jobs and strong public services.

"Everyone knows that Ontario is the province hardest hit by the current economic crisis, but what gets scant attention in the mainstream media is the fact that the impact in northern Ontario has been far more tragic than anything felt in the south," said Ryan. "The economic and employment situation in communities like Thunder Bay is dire, and has been for many years now, but that fact can often be lost to those who are only paying attention to the headline numbers when monthly unemployment data are released."

Although the unemployment rate in Thunder Bay sits almost two percent below the provincial average, the low rate is an artifact of a labour force that has been shrinking steadily for a number of years due to an outflow of job seekers and an ever increasing number of long-term unemployed, "discouraged" workers.

"The solution to the jobs crisis in the north of Ontario is not to sit back and do nothing while people move away or give up looking. The answer is for the government to take an active and engaged approach to labour market and industrial policy," said Ryan. "As well, government must recognize the public sector as both a source of desperately needed services, and as a source of good jobs that help stabilize local spending and local economies in times of trouble. 

This is particularly true in northern Ontario, where public sector jobs make up almost one third of local employment."

The Ontario Federation of Labour and its affiliate unions have launched a campaign called Communities That Work in order to lobby the McGuinty government to make jobs the priority in the upcoming budget. Radio ads in support of the campaign were recently heard on radio stations across the north. The campaign calls on the provincial government to embed the following five priorities in the budget:

  1. support for private sector labour markets by supporting established industries and facilitating the creation of good, green jobs;
  1. maintenance of the important public sector jobs and services which have provided a bulwark against the recession;
  1. providing support for employment through training, retraining and support for child care;
  1. avoid exacerbating the deficit by rethinking cuts to the corporate income tax rate; and,
  1. providing support for precariously employed workers in their struggle for sustaining employment

At the press conference, Ryan will be joined by Thunder Bay and District Labour Council president Melanie Kelso and local workers who have been hard hit by the jobs crisis.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Patrick (Sid) Ryan
    416.209.0066 (mobile)
    Ontario Federation of Labour
    Mike Belmore
    Communications Director
    905.308.4300 (mobile)
    Ontario Federation of Labour
    Sheila Keenan
    Communications Director
    416.443.7665 (direct)
    416.737.5798 (mobile)
    1.800.668.9138 (toll free)