Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

November 20, 2009 17:27 ET

CUPE: James Bay Children's Aid Staff Wear Blue Ribbons in Plea for Help

MOOSE FACTORY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2009) - Management and front line staff all wore blue ribbons to work today, November 20 – National Child Day, to draw attention to the crisis at one of Ontario's hardest hit children's aid societies, Payukotayno whose head office is in Moose Factory, an island community of 3,000, mostly first nations peoples, in James Bay.

"We're really worried about what will happen to kids here since all staff from front line worker to senior management have already received notice that we will be laid off as of December 14," said Mike Tomatuk, spokesperson for CUPE Local 4313 representing approximately 95 of the 120 people working at Payukotayno.

The $3.6 million funding shortfall faced by Payukotayno due to government funding cuts means "closure of the agency is possible," the Executive Director Ernest Beck publicly warned in late October.

CUPE children's aid blue ribbon campaign activities took place at many Ontario children's aid offices today and in some communities including, Toronto, Hamilton, Belleville, Kingston, Brantford and Burlington where staff also handed out blue ribbons to the public in an appeal for their support to get better government funding for vital child protection services.

"With reports that operating funds are running dry and that layoff notices have already been issued to staff at some children's aid societies in Ontario, we could not wait any longer to warn the public," said CUPE Ontario Social Services Coordinator Kathy Johnson.

On November 20, 1989 Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The convention says governments should protect children from harm and help them live and grow to their full potential. Families and the people who work to support our vulnerable children say the province of Ontario is not fulfilling this promise.

Contact Information

  • CUPE Local 4313 Moose Factory
    Mike Tomatuk
    Kathy Johnson
    Social Services Coordinator
    CUPE Communications
    Chris Watson