TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 20, 2014) - The Tory plan to privatize virtually every public service, introduced yesterday as Bill 160, would devastate key public services like education, child protection and long-term care, while also increasing poverty in Ontario.
"Bill 160 is one of the most radical pieces of legislation our province has ever seen," says Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. "If passed, this legislation would open up virtually every public service in Ontario to private companies. Ontarians don't want the dedicated education assistants who help special needs students in our schools, or the CAS workers who protect kids in our community, or the workers caring for our aging parents replaced by a revolving door of temp agency workers. If Hudak thinks this radical plan will gain him the votes of Ontarians, he's got another think coming. "
Bill 160, which opens ups the provision of all public services in Ontario to private companies, except for those provided directly by teachers, police, nurses and doctors, would be a boon for corporations looking to profit from public services. Possible scenarios allowed for under the Bill include:
- a private employment agency take over school secretarial duties, leaving safe arrival programs in the hands of a series of temps who don't know the students, parents or community
- a multinational corporation like Monsanto running and staffing a university agriculture department
- people with developmental disabilities facing a constant turnover in caregivers as contracts move from one corporation to another
In Ontario, we have already seen the government pushing more health care services into private clinics. Studies show higher death rates at private clinics. And in the United Kingdom, the costs of the private clinics have been much higher than originally forecast.
The bill, which would cause chaos in virtually all public services, is clearly a crass election ploy to attack public sector workers, says Hahn. It would also drive down the wages of the lowest-paid workers in the public sector while diverting millions of dollars away from services and into corporate profits.
"It is a bill that seeks to fire people making just above minimum wage and replace them with people making minimum wage, all to give the difference to private corporations," said Hahn. "There's a myth that everyone in the public sector makes big bucks, and it just isn't true. Our average member makes less than $40,000 a year and this bill targets people below that average. It's a bill to create poverty for hundreds of thousands of workers while enriching corporations."
CUPE is Ontario's community union, with members providing 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.