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OPSEU President challenges Premier to tour Toronto South Detention Centre

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is challenging Premier Doug Ford to join him for a tour of the Toronto South Detention Centre after a number of correctional officers were assaulted.

“The best way to understand what is going on in Ontario’s correctional facilities is to come to the front line and talk to frontline workers about the life and death situations they face every day they come to work,” said Thomas.

“The Premier will learn more about the Crisis in Corrections in a couple hours than he would reading 100 briefing notes,” Thomas added.

Over the weekend eight OPSEU members working at the Toronto South Detention Centre were injured after they were attacked by inmates.   Staff at the facility are refusing to do any non-essential work until staffing problems in the province’s corrections system are addressed.

The weekend incident is another sign of how the already tense situation in the province’s corrections facilities is escalating. It seems that virtually every day another corrections worker in Ontario is brutally assaulted, said Thomas. 

“It’s imperative that Ford get a firsthand look at the problem,” Thomas said.  “That is why I’m inviting him to join me and walk through the cellblocks at Toronto South and I’ll give him an education about what is really going on in these facilities.”

OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, a veteran Correctional Officer, says it’s time for the Ford Conservatives to step up.

“This bunch talked a good game when they were in Opposition,” said Almeida.  “Now we need a government that will talk a little less about promises made and do a little more to make sure promises are kept.”

Thomas noted that the hiring freeze the Conservatives have brought in has meant staffing cuts in the correctional institutions.

“Ford and the Conservatives strut around bragging about how they are for law and order,” said Thomas.  “But they are creating lawlessness and disorder in correctional facilities by putting their heads in the sand and failing to make sure there are enough frontline workers.

“Ford needs to prove he really cares about the front line by showing up and explaining to them why he has sat on his hands about the Crisis in Corrections.”

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