Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

November 17, 2014 15:16 ET

Ontario privatization plan threatens to drive up hydro rates

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 17, 2014) - Initiatives announced in today's economic update at Queen's Park and the Ed Clark report tabled Thursday will not fix Ontario's serious revenue problem, said the president of the province's largest union. In fact, they are expected to end up costing the public money.

"The government's plan to sell off large parts of Ontario's electrical transmission and distribution networks, such as the one in Brampton, will end up costing regular working people more money," said Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. "This plan will transfer profit to private corporations, but the public will still be on the hook for all the financial risk."

Ontarians already pay higher hydro rates than residents of neighbouring jurisdictions.

A complex plan to partially sell-off many public assets means that people will end up paying for the added profits taken by corporations. At the same time, the so-called "partial privatizations" leave the public holding the bag for long-term infrastructure costs and financial risk.

"The Liberals say they'll make money by selling off local hydro distribution in places like Brampton. It's the same line they fed us before losing the province billions on privatization initiatives like eHealth, Ornge Air Ambulance and the gas plants," said Hahn. "People in Brampton have certainly heard these lines before - with the Brampton Civic Hospital's multi-million dollar boondoggle. Ontario has a long history of failed privatization schemes that have cost the public billions."

Building the Brampton Civic Hospital would have saved more than $200 million in cost overruns if it had been done publicly. And the public-private partnership continued to lose millions because of contracting-out services that would be cheaper to provide in-house, according to an auditor's report.

"It's time to stop the privatization madness and look at the real problem," said Hahn. "This government slashed corporate tax rates, and to pay for them they're increasing costs to working people and selling off our province's future. Our province would be in much better shape if the government just restored corporate tax rates and let the wealthy pay their fair share."

CUPE is Ontario's community union, with members providing the quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.

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