TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 27, 2013) - Ontario's new Premier must meet the challenges left by her predecessor head on, according to the Ontario Federation of Labour. Newly elected Liberal Party Leader Kathleen Wynne must tackle Ontario's growing inequality and protect workers' rights as her top priorities.
"Kathleen Wynne was elected Premier amid the largest public protest her party has seen since forming government eight years ago," said OFL President Sid Ryan. "It will be a big challenge for her to lead if she doesn't act quickly to repair the damage done to our communities by cutting social programs and suspending workers' rights."
In total, 131 buses traveled from every corner of the province to join over 30,000 protestors for a massive rally that marched on the Ontario Liberal Convention during the leadership vote. Labour unions at the rally were joined by more than 100 community groups representing students, parents, seniors, environmentalists, Aboriginal people and many others who were demanding economic and democratic rights for everyone.
"We are calling on Premier Wynne to begin governing Ontario with the people of Ontario. Struggling families cannot continue to be the only ones making sacrifices during tough economic times while banks and corporations siphon billions of dollars from the public treasury due to a decade of corporate tax cuts," said Ryan. "It is time for a fair and balanced approach to balancing the budget."
"Ontarians need an industrial strategy that promotes job creation. We need labour law reform that protects workers' rights to join a union and negotiate collectively with their employer. We need social program funding that pulls our hospitals, schools and universities out of last place. We need a poverty reduction plan that increases social assistance rates and provides a living wage for everyone. Most of all, we need fair taxation for banks and corporations and everyone earning over 250,000," said Ryan. "The economy can't recover unless everyone recovers."
Ryan said he hoped for a new approach to governance in addition to new policies: "Progress requires genuine consultation and cooperation. Over a million workers in this province are hoping that Premier Wynne will open up a new dialogue with working people - one founded in respect for our rights and respect for our communities."
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour and follow OFL President Sid Ryan at @SidRyan_OFL.