Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

September 05, 2011 10:30 ET

It's time to let the wealthy pay their share to protect services and cut the deficit, CUPE Ontario leaders say

HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 5, 2011) - We cannot afford to keep giving handouts to the super-rich and to big corporations when public services are threatened and governments are facing huge deficits, said leaders of Ontario's largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) at today's Labour Day events around the province.

"Hamilton is a great city, but it's had a long struggle to become more than a steel town. We never got back the jobs lost when big manufacturers like Westinghouse closed, and U.S. Steel's decision to lock out workers for almost a year is making life hard for steel workers and families across the Hamilton region," said Joanne Webb, CUPE Ontario Diversity Vice-President for Aboriginal Workers.

Webb is a Health Care Aide worker from Hamilton Health Sciences. She sits on CUPE's national Aboriginal Council and is the Ontario Federation of Labour's Vice-President for Aboriginal People.

"Right now, people in Hamilton need help to get back on their feet. The recession hit us hard," Webb said, noting that the recession drove up number of people on Ontario Works support in the city 41.7 percent (July 2008-July 2011). "This isn't the time to cut the services people need, it's time to help them rebuild their lives."

At today's Labour Day Parade in Toronto, CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn echoed Webb's concerns and suggested a modest tax increase for the super-rich and rollbacks on some recent corporate tax cuts would help.

"We wouldn't have a deficit problem if corporations and the mega-rich paid their fair share of taxes. We could have strong, stable services like care for people with developmental disabilities and we could stop closing hospital beds," said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.

By increasing the rate by just two percent for people making more than $500,000 a year, and closing the executive stock option loophole, the province would increase revenues by more than $500 million. Reversing the $2 billion Dalton McGuinty recently gave out in corporate tax cuts will return a further $2 billion to the province for a total of over $2.5 billion.

"A modest 2 percent tax increase would only affect the most wealthy, but would generate enough revenue to deal with the deficit and provide adequate funding for many of the social services that make life better for so many Ontarians," Hahn said.

Noting that large banks and corporations in Canada are getting away without paying their fair share thanks to successive Liberal and PC tax cuts, Hahn pointed to a 2010 KPMG report, Competitive Alternatives, which shows that corporations in Canada pay less in tax than corporations in the United States or any major European country.

"Life has been getting more expensive, and corporate tax cuts mean average Canadians are lining the pockets of CEOs. That just isn't fair," Hahn said.

The Hamilton Labour Day parade starts at York St., south of Queen at 10:30 a.m.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents more than 230,000 workers in Ontario. Its members work in health care, at schools and universities, for municipalities and provide essential social services.

Contact Information

  • CUPE Ontario
    Joanne Webb
    Diversity Vice-President for Aboriginal Workers
    905-520-9419

    CUPE Ontario
    Fred Hahn
    President
    416-540-3979

    CUPE Ontario
    Craig Saunders
    CUPE Communications
    416-576-7316