OPSEU in the News: Ontario is burning


The campaign to fight for better pay and working conditions for Ontario’s forest fire workers is hitting news media. In the past week, multiple mainstream media outlets covered what is one of the worst wildfire seasons on record.

CBC Radio

OPSEU/SEFPO member Taylor Dalzell from Pickle Lake appeared on about his experience on the frontlines. He expressed the isolation workers feel in remote areas, and the danger they’re putting themselves in to protect us and our communities. He painted a vivid picture of the hazardous conditions on the ground and the long-term effects of smoke exposure. Forest fire workers do all of this danger and despite the poor wages and lack of resources.

You can listen to the full interviews below.

Fresh Air: Listen to the interview

The Current: Listen to the interview

The Trillium

The Trillium – a news outlet that covers policy and politics out of Queen’s Park – covered the press conference with official opposition leader Marit Stiles and OPSEU/SEFPO President of Local 713 Mark Belanger. The article describes the working conditions as “a job from hell” and addresses the retention crises caused by the Ford government and PC governments before them.

You can read the full article here.

CBC News

CBC covered the press conference with official opposition leader Marit Stiles who called on the Ford government to stop dragging their feet and reverse the cuts they’ve made to wildfire management programs. The article quotes Marit on the years of austerity politics that have turned a highly skilled and experienced work force into a precarious work force.

Taylor Dalzell’s radio interviews are also covered in this article where he talks about the impact of the retention crisis. Combined, crews have lost over 100 years of experience because experienced crew members leave for better paying job opportunities.

You can read the full article here.

Take action to support forest fire workers: Ontarioisburning.ca