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OPSEU President: Employment services privatization and workfare will lead to more precarious work

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the Ford government’s plans to privatize and outsource Ontario’s employment and training programs will leave even more Ontarians stuck in a downward spiral of being either jobless or stuck in precarious work.

“Doug Ford can’t stop talking about making Ontario open for business, but what he’s really doing is making Ontario open for exploitation,” said Thomas. “Handing job training over to the private sector is a recipe for disaster. We know corporations will put profits before people, leading to cut corners, shoddy services, and a lack of transparency and accountability.”

Ontario’s Auditor General has issued two recent reports on the province’s employment services system and made 18 recommendations to improve efficiency and effectiveness, most of which involved investing in better measurement tools, increased accountability, and tackling social issues that prevent people from finding and holding jobs. 

“Nowhere in any of those recommendations will you find anything about privatization or about returning to disastrous workfare programs,” said Thomas. “Cherry-picking from Auditor General reports isn’t going to help anybody but Doug Ford’s rich friends and donors.”

“For example, the Auditor General stressed the importance of addressing issues like homelessness,” said Thomas. “But what is Ford doing to address homelessness? Removing rent controls and giving landlords the right to hire private bailiffs to evict people in less than a week.”

OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida said Ford is sounding like a broken record playing a terrible song.

“They seem to have one answer for everything: privatize it,” said Almeida. “Health care. Cannabis retail. Autism services. These are incredibly important issues to real Ontarians, but Ford just sees them as a way to help his pals in the corporate boardroom get even richer.”

Thomas said Conservatives across the province will pay the price if Ford doesn’t change his tune.

“Public opinion research shows that the majority of Ontarians are already sick of Ford’s empty ‘for the people’ slogans,” said Thomas. “They know that if this government were truly committed to helping Ontarians, they’d stop cutbacks and start fighting to save good jobs like the ones at the GM plant in Oshawa.”

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