Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

April 21, 2012 15:00 ET

People of Ontario deserve better from government, president of largest union in province says

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 21, 2012) - Ontarians don't want the McGuinty government's public service cuts, and thousands of people on the lawn of Queen's Park today are further proof of that, said Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

Hahn was addressing a mass rally organized by the province's unions to protest public service cuts contained in Ontario's new budget.

"The people of Ontario don't want these cuts. They value education, health care and child care. They know that public services provide good value and a higher quality of care," said Hahn. "They also know that putting more than 100,000 people out of work isn't going to help unemployment, and that the only people these cuts will help are bankers and CEOs."

The budget, tabled on March 27, will eliminate an estimated 65,000 jobs in the public sector and a further 40,000 in the private sector. The cuts will also result in a 0.7% drop in GDP, according to a new report prepared by the Centre for Spatial Economics.

In the last two weeks, three separate polls from Angus Reid (available at cupe.on.ca/budget), Forum Research and the Broadbent Institute have confirmed that an overwhelming majority of Ontarians want the government to raise tax revenue in order to preserve public services.

"Ontarians believe in fairness, which is why they want corporations and people who can well afford to do so should pay their fair share. This budget moves us away from fairness by cutting services and increasing fees for most Ontarians, while keeping huge tax cuts for the wealthiest," said Hahn.

Because of the makeup of the public sector and the government's habit of cutting front-line workers instead of managers, the majority of cuts will affect women and racialized workers, he noted. Workers with disabilities will also be harder hit than average, thanks to reduced funding to make buildings and services accessible.

"This budget is clearly going to make Ontario less fair, less equal. According to our poll, three-quarters of Ontarians agree, it makes no sense to freeze social assistance and punish the poor just to continue letting the rich get away without paying their fair share," said Hahn. "It's time for the Liberals to listen to their constituents. If they don't, they will pay the price at the polls."

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario is the province's largest union representing workers in schools, universities, hospitals, long term care, municipalities and social services.

Contact Information

  • CUPE Communications
    Craig Saunders
    416-576-7316