Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 13, 2009 12:55 ET

Unemployment in Ontario hits highest level in 12 years

Bold action by government urgently needed, says OFL

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 13, 2009) - "The staggering job losses in Ontario last month demand swift and effective action on budget day," said Wayne Samuelson, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour.

According to the latest Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey 83,000 Canadian jobs have been lost in February, 40% of those losses were in Ontario with 35,000 more jobs lost. The unemployment rate of 8.7% is the highest it has been since 1997. The job losses have spread well beyond the manufacturing sector into construction and other support services.

"Taken on their own these numbers paint a devastating picture of the downward spiral in Ontario's economy," said Samuelson. "What's really alarming though is the fact they don't reflect the thousands of jobs recently lost at U.S. Steel, in Hamilton and Chrysler, in Windsor.

"Over the course of just two days last week, the Ontario economy lost nearly three thousand well paying jobs due to layoffs at these two companies. The picture is even grimmer if you factor in all the other layoffs from good paying jobs at smaller employers in every corner of the province.

"In my lifetime I've never seen the economy in such rough shape," Samuelson said. "But we mustn't let the severity of the job losses overwhelm us. We must chart our course boldly and remember that people's lives and livelihoods are at risk here in this province.

"Governments can and must do more to turn this economy around," Samuelson said. "To successfully move out of the recession and into a sustainable future, our provincial government needs to adopt a strategic and aggressive plan."

This week the Ontario Federation of Labour released a four-point plan to address the economic crisis. It will include measures to:

1. Maintain Ontario's industrial base by helping businesses survive the current economic storm;
2. Invest in infrastructure to create jobs now and build a more sustainable economy;
3. Support public services when we need them the most; and,
4. Provide relief to people who really need it. The government must deliver on its own promise to reduce poverty, and improve adjustment assistance for workers who lose their jobs.

The OFL Economic Plan recommends an investment of $5.5 billion. This is 6 percent of Ontario's 2008-09 program expenditures and less than 1 percent of Ontario's GDP.

Copies of Together It Works: An Economic Plan That Works for Everyone are available for download at www.ofl.ca.

/For further information: Wayne Samuelson
OFL President
416.571.7408 (cellular)/ IN: ECONOMY, LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Dana Boettger, Communications Director, Ontario Federation of Labour
    Primary Phone: 416-441-2731 ext. 665
    Secondary Phone: 416-443-7665
    Toll-Free: 800-668-9138
    E-mail: dboettger@ofl.ca