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OPSEU/SEFPO’s President celebrates another Corrections win: paid training for recruits

Toronto – OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is commending the Ford government for taking the union’s advice and instituting paid training for all new Corrections recruits.

“For years, we’ve been asking government after government to pay new Correctional Officer recruits for their Correctional Officer basic training,” said Thomas. “We’re very pleased that we now have a government that shows it’s listening.”

The new paid training in Corrections was announced in the province’s 2020 budget, which was tabled on Nov. 5. In the section “Building Pathways to Careers in Corrections,” the government commits to compensating new recruits “undergoing training to remove barriers to employment in Ontario’s Correctional system.”

“This is exactly the kind of action you get when you’re part of a union that’s as strong and well known in Ontario as OPSEU/SEFPO,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “When this union talks, government listens.”

The new-recruit compensation is just one of a number of recent success stories the union has had in Corrections. Along with adopting a host of pandemic safety measures demanded by OPSEU/SEFPO and its members, the government has also created 500 new full-time Correctional staff positions across the province and has also announced new infrastructure in the eastern region.

Chris Jackel, the co-chair of the union’s Correctional Division, thanked Solicitor General Sylvia Jones for her support and said he was pleased with the announcement.

“Change doesn’t always happen overnight. But OPSEU/SEFPO members can count on their union to be tireless and relentless in its push for positive change,” said Jackel. “And this budget announcement is definitely positive change.

“Compensating people while they’re training for a job as important as Correctional Officer will ensure better officers, better services, and safer communities. It’s a win for all.”

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