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Ontario government must ‘put our money where their mouths are’: OPSEU President Thomas

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling on the Liberals to put our money where their mouths are, by focusing on much needed investments in Ontario’s public services in this year’s provincial budget.

For the past week, the Ontario government has been leaking funding announcements ahead of Wednesday’s budget, which is expected to be a “something-for-everyone” budget leading into June’s election. According to Thomas, late is better than never.  

“After 15 years of austerity, we’ve all reached the breaking point,” said Thomas. “We know a better Ontario is possible. On Wednesday, we’ll see just how committed this government is to making our province a more caring place to grow up, to live, work, and hopefully one day, retire. This could be the most important budget in decades; it could turn the tide just in time for the election.”

OPSEU, which proudly represents 155,000 workers in Ontario’s direct and broader public sectors, is calling on the government to take action in three priority areas:

  • Invest in our communities, by investing in the public sector
  • Support public services, and stop costly privatization schemes
  • Improve fairness for workers

“Our public services have been understaffed and grossly under resourced for more than a decade, and Ontarians are fed up,” Thomas said. “They’re suffering because there simply aren’t enough resources going into our vital public services. So much of Ontario’s workforce is stuck in precarious, part-time jobs, with unreasonable workloads and too few protections. It’s not safe, and it’s definitely not fair.

“The time for talking about caring is over; we must invest in our public sector,” said Thomas. “We’ve got to stop blowing money on costly privatization schemes, like the sell-off of Hydro One. We’ve got to stop contracting-out public services, which suffer when profits – rather than people – become top priority. The time has come for a renewed sense of public sector pride, and that’s what we’ll be watching for on budget day.”

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