OPSEU’s leadership says Corrections workers can’t wait any longer for the government to tackle the crisis in Corrections.
President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida are making the call on the heels of attending Thursday’s Correctional Services Ceremony of Remembrance at Queen’s Park.
Thomas and Almeida were joined by Correctional Division MERC Chair Chris Jackel and frontline correctional workers. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and the Opposition critic for the Solicitor General, Keven Yarde were also present, along with ministry staff.
The ceremony was held at the monument to fallen corrections workers, “Hours of the Day,” which was unveiled in 2017. Wreaths were laid at the monument in memory of correctional workers who have fallen in the line of duty.
The Ceremony of Remembrance is the highlight of Correctional Services Staff Recognition Week, which begins on the first Monday in May.
“My hat goes off to all former current corrections members, and especially those who have been injured on the job or have lost their lives in the line of duty,” said Thomas, who added that while recognition is important, actions speak louder than words.
“Our correctional services remain in a state of crisis, and everyone at the ceremony knew it. If this government doesn’t make significant investments in the system, there will be more injuries and more deaths to mourn this time next year. I’m telling Doug Ford and Sylvia Jones: act now to ensure none of our corrections members die on your watch.”
Almeida, who is a correctional officer, says it’s impossible to overstate how much correctional workers give of themselves to keep Ontario safe – and the government should have their back.
“It’s unacceptable that last month’s budget did nothing to address the serious problems in the corrections system,” said Almeida. “We can’t wait to see if the government will ‘get around’ to addressing what is a life or death issue, it’s time for action.”
From left to right: Scott McIntrye, Chris Abbott, MPP Terence Kernaghan, MPP Kevin Yarde, Chad Oldfield, MPP Jennifer French, Chris Jackel, President Thomas, Janet Laverty, Chris Glower.