Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 25, 2010 18:07 ET

Positive Jobs' Budget Marred by Attempts to Curtail Free Collective Bargaining

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 25, 2010) - Today's provincial government budget has incorporated numerous demands advanced by the Ontario Federation of Labour in its pre-budget meetings with Finance Minister Dwight Duncan.

We are particularly pleased with the focus in the budget that preserves, and helps to create, good jobs. Specifically, we are extremely relieved to see the Ontario government step in to fill the void left by the federal Tories and provide $63.5 million in funding for 7,600 childcare spaces.

In addition, we commend the government for pumping $600 million into the Second Career program upon which tens of thousands of vulnerable Ontario workers depend.

We are also delighted to see the government adopt the NDP's "Northern Industrial Hydro Rate" to provide northern Ontario businesses with reduced electricity rates. This will assist in creating thousands of good-quality jobs in recession-ravaged northern Ontario.

And finally, we welcome the government's follow-through on the remainder of funding for more Employment Standards officers.

However, we must caution this government that imposing a "net zero" bargaining strategy on the public sector is precisely what led to the longest municipal strike in Canadian history which took place in the Minister's home town of Windsor. "The principle of collective bargaining has always been about moving workers forward; net zero bargaining is about walking them backwards," says OFL President Sid Ryan. "We strongly urge the government not to place handcuffs on public sector employers."

We are tremendously disappointed and concerned that the government did not meet the 2% increase in base hospital funding that was needed. This shortfall will inevitably lead to more service and staffing cuts.

The OFL is Canada's largest labour federation representing more than one million public and private sector workers.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Sid Ryan
    President
    416-209-0066 (cell)
    or
    Ontario Federation of Labour
    Lynn Simmons
    OFL Communications
    416-998-3157 (cell)
    www.ofl.ca