News - Press Release
Press Release

As autism layoffs reach 50 and continue to climb, OPSEU says Ford’s promises are worthless

Publication Date

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 7:15am

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says word of layoffs concerning public autism programs is proof that Premier Doug Ford has deceived Ontarians.

“During the election Ford repeatedly promised that no one would lose their job, but every day, we’re being notified of more service cuts and more layoffs at autism service providers across the province,” said Thomas.

“Every day, we are seeing in heartbreaking detail just how worthless Doug Ford’s word is, he is a pathological prevaricator whose nose grows longer every day.”

Thomas notes that in autism services alone, the number of frontline workers being laid off has now topped 50.  OPSEU has been informed that workers are being laid off from KidsAbility in Waterloo.  Layoff notices have also been issued at Surrey Place Centre, the Geneva Centre for Autism, and Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre, all in Toronto.

Layoffs are also feared in the autism program at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), which is being forced to start charging parents for the services their children desperately need.

“How can Ford keep claiming he’s making autism services better when the service providers are being forced to march frontline workers out the door?” asked OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “Ford should stop wasting time making ridiculous ‘personal guarantees’ during rambling, late-night phone calls and get down to some real work: listening to families and the frontline workers who actually know what they’re talking about.”

Like Ford’s false promise about job losses, Thomas scoffs at Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod’s pledge to consult families and workers.

“She outright refused to consult with me, parents, and the President of the OPSEU local that represents autism workers at CHEO, even after her staff promised that such a meeting would take place,” said Thomas. “And the only consultation events she’s announced so far are a couple of hour-long conference calls.

“It’s time for this government to stop playing games and start listening to parents and frontline workers,” Thomas added. “This chaos is causing families in Ontario real pain.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931