SEIU Canada (Service Employees International Union - Canada)

SEIU Canada (Service Employees International Union - Canada)

March 26, 2009 17:26 ET

SEIU Canada: Billions for Big Business Nothing for Home Care Crisis

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 26, 2009) - The Ontario government's decision to invest in massive corporate tax cuts instead of working people is an example of misplaced priorities, according to Sharleen Stewart President of SEIU Local 1 Canada.

"This government is ready to hand billions to companies that are making good money - but doesn't have a cent for a working woman struggling in home care," said Stewart.

Women and men who provide home care services in Ontario are often surviving on wages that leave them below the poverty line. While the government has set a "minimum wage" of $12.50 an hour - home care workers are only paid for a fraction of the hours in their work day.

Home care providers spend as much as a third of their day travelling from client to client - time that no home care agency provides real compensation for. In her 2005 report on home care Elinor Caplan called on the government to set basic standards for travel time that all agencies would adhere to. Three years later this has not happened.

Because of competition between service providers (known as "competitive
bidding") agencies are constantly forced to reduce costs - meaning agencies that attempt to improve working conditions to address high turnover rates are placed at a competitive disadvantage.

Red Cross is one of the largest agencies under contract with the government to provide home care services. Red Cross personal support workers, along with SEIU, have been in a legal strike position since Monday. Home care workers have held one day strike actions in Sudbury and Owen Sound this week.

"3,000 Red Cross workers have been forced into strike action because the government refuses to invest in home care. They needed help. They got a tax hike," said Stewart referring to new sales taxes introduced in the budget.

Contact Information

  • SEIU
    Pat Chastang
    Media Relations
    (416) 709-0501