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OPSEU urges Premier to restore programs for Ontario’s young workers


TORONTO — In the wake of the Ontario budget, the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union is urging Premier Wynne to reinstate funding for two youth employment programs as part of her $295 youth employment strategy.

"Two of the best and most recognized youth employment opportunities, the Ontario Ranger Program and Ontario Place, were abandoned by this government," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President. "At minimal cost, Premier Wynne could restore both and provide hundreds if not thousands of jobs for Ontario's young workers."

The 70-year-old Ranger Program was "replaced" last fall with the Ontario Stewardship program, a completely different program that resulted in a cut to 46 per cent of the jobs. In February 2012, Ontario Place was closed despite the park beginning to show a meaningful profit after extensive renovations.

"The Ranger Program was a life-building experience for nearly 80,000 young Ontarians, including former Toronto mayor and MP David Crombie, and MP Olivia Chow," Thomas said. "Ontario Place, provided hundreds of young workers jobs as lifeguards, cleaners, parking attendants and fast food workers. Along with providing an affordable activity for Toronto families, revenue would flow in to the government."

Thomas asks that Wynne look seriously at these recommendations if she is indeed serious in her commitment to young people.

"With or without a new budget, this is simple to execute and the right thing to do for the health of our youth and the community."

More information:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas (613) 329-1931