Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

February 27, 2008 12:15 ET

OPSEU to Stage ODSP Information Pickets Across Ontario on March 4 'Day of Action'

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 27, 2008) - Fed up with the number of caseloads that are twice the national average, and a provincial government that is indifferent to a problem affecting 325,000 Ontarians living in poverty, unionists representing the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) agreed Tuesday to stage a province-wide Day of Action on March 4.

"There are days when I just want to cry," said Wendy Tabor, ODSP steward from Woodstock told a special meeting in Toronto. "All I'm told all day long is 'just get the job done.' Well, we can't 'just get the job done' because there are too many fires to put out. We've reached the breaking point."

The call for a Day of Action is the result of severe understaffing and under funding that has caused a crisis in a provincial program that administers and distributes more than $2.6 billion in income support payments to disabled Ontarians living in poverty. Clients often go months before receiving benefit payments and service because of backlogs.

The Day of Action will include noon hour information pickets outside 44 ODSP offices across Ontario, and MPP lobbying by senior officials from OPSEU which represents 1,200 ODSP workers.

Income support specialists in Ontario each handle an average of 530 cases. Similar workers in British Columbia have a caseload ratio of about 300:1. In Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan the rate is lower than 200:1.

OPSEU is demanding that $60 million be included in this spring's provincial budget that would bring the ODSP per-worker caseload ratio closer to the national average of about 250:1.

OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas told the stewards that the crisis in the ODSP strikes at the heart of the McGuinty government's war on poverty, which it has pledged to reduce by 25 per cent over the next five years.

"How can the government be serious about reducing poverty when it denies Ontarians living in poverty with public services to which they are rightfully entitled to?" Thomas asked.

On March 4, noon hour ODSP information pickets will be staged at the
following locations across Ontario:

London 217 York St. 3rd Floor, Ste. 203
St. Thomas 417 Talbot Street, 3rd floor
Owen Sound 1400 1st Ave. West
Chatham 1023 Richmond St. West
Stratford 581 Huron St.
Woodstock 93 Graham St.
Windsor 270 Erie Street East
Sarnia 150 North Christina Street

Hamilton 119 King Street West 2nd floor
St. Catharines 301 St. Paul St., Mezz. Flr. Gdn.City Twr.
Brantford 38 Darling St. 3rd floor
Simcoe 25 Kent Street North

Central East
Newmarket 465 Davis Drive
Barrie 34 Simcoe Street
Lindsay 322 Kent Street W. 2nd floor
Orillia 700 Memorial Drive, Cottage C
Peterborough 360 George St. North, 2nd floor
Whitby 1400 Hopkins Street

Central West
Mississauga 212 - 1140 Burhamthorpe Rd. West
Burlington 440 Elizabeth St., 2nd floor
Kitchener/Waterloo 385 Fairway Rd. S., Ste. 200
Cambridge 73 Water St. North, Ste. 605
Guelph 86 Gordon Street

North York 47 Sheppard Ave. E. 6th floor
North West Wilson Office 1870 Wilson Ave.
Yonge Street Office 385 Yonge Street, 2nd floor
Scarboro S.-Birchmount 770 Birchmount Rd., Unit #30

Ottawa 351 Preston St. 2nd floor
Cornwall 4 Montreal Rd., 3rd floor
Hawkesbury 692 Main Street

South East
Kingston - local 1055 Princess St. Suite 103
Kingston - regional 11 Beechgrove Lane
Belleville 199 Dundas Street East
Brockville 105 - 100 Strowger Blvd.
Smiths Falls 91 Cornelia St. West, Unit A7

North East
Timmins Ont. Gov. Complex, Hwy 101E. S. Porcupine
Bracebridge 50 Ball's Drive
North Bay 621 Main Street West
Kirkland Lake 10 Government Rd. E., Suite 209

Thunder Bay 435 James St. South, Ste. 111
Sault Ste. Marie 341 Queen Street East
Sudbury 199 Larch Street, 5th floor, Ste. 501
Kenora 720 Robertso

Contact Information

    Greg Hamara
    Communications & Campaigns
    (647) 2389933 Cell
    1-800-268-7376 ext 8777
    Website: www.opseu.org