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Blue Ribbon Day to mark provincial funding crisis in children’s services

We the North
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TORONTO– Workers at Ontario children’s aid societies and children’s mental health agencies will mark National Child Day on Friday Nov. 19, by wearing a “Blue Ribbon” to sound the alarm over the crisis in government underfunding.

One year after front line workers and employer groups joined together to warn the public that children would be endangered if the province did not act soon, there is little evidence to show that the McGuinty government is treating the problem with the seriousness it deserves.

Regrettably, McGuinty is choosing to transfer funds that should be going to children’s services to corporations in the form of tax cuts, say Blue Ribbon day organizers.

“Instead of protecting our social safety net and helping to reduce child inequality, this government is handing over $2.4 billion to banks and corporations in tax cuts. The Liberals do not have public support to do this,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

“Families are losing community-based children’s mental health services in Sarnia, Kingston, Niagara, Sudbury, Oshawa and Algoma. CAS workers can’t get the job done when agencies face bankruptcy, lay offs, and mergers. This is an all out attack on the most vulnerable and it’s wrong,” said Fred Hahn, president of the Ontario Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employee.

This year, 22 children’s aid societies in Ontario are facing difficulties meeting the legal requirements of their service delivery and have asked the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to review the funding formula in each of these agencies.

OPSEU and CUPE represent 11,000 workers at children’s aid societies and children’s mental health agencies across the province.

For more information:

Luisa Quarta OPSEU (416) 709-7451

Stella Youden CUPE (416) 559-9300