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'Knowing we have OPSEU in our corner fuels our tanks to keep going'

Publication Date

Friday, March 8, 2019 - 9:30am

In the wake of the thousands-strong rally in support of high-quality, needs-based autism services in Ontario, one of the groups involved has written an open letter to OPSEU members and President Warren (Smokey) Thomas expressing thanks for the support and solidarity.

"Knowing that we have OPSEU in our corner fuels our tanks to keep going," wrote the Northern Ontario Autism Alliance. "Thank you again for standing up for the vulnerable and showing this government that we are just getting started."

Here is the full text of the letter:

March 8, 2019

Dear OPSEU members:

On Thursday, March 7, a diverse group of parents, family members, caregivers, and professionals gathered on the front lawn of Queen’s Park to protest the PC government’s new Ontario Autism Program. 

The crowd was in the thousands. Together with your President Smokey and other OPSEU members, we sent a loud and strong message to Doug Ford and his ministers. That we will not sit silently while he attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable.

We represent a group of advocates from Northern Ontario that have been organizing action since the rollout of this new program in early February. When the event was scheduled for Queen’s Park, our group faced a giant barrier being located so far from Toronto. Thanks to you and your members, buses were chartered for us and we were able to participate at home and abroad in this province-wide action.

Smokey’s words at the event were inspirational. Every day, parents in the Autism community are struggling to move forward. The looming financial burden, the feeling of despair and helplessness cripples us to no end. Your union’s generous donation helped lift some of these feelings. Knowing that we have OPSEU in our corner fuels our tanks to keep going. We look forward to collaborating with you and your members in the future.

Thank you again for standing up for the vulnerable and showing this government that we are just getting started.

In Solidarity,

Northern Ontario Autism Alliance
Sean Staddon
Chantal Chartrand