Ontario will build two new jails and upgrade three others as part of a major investment plan to modernize the corrections system in eastern Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said Thursday.
Smokey Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents around 9,000 correctional workers, said upgrades to the province’s ageing facilities and more support for corrections staff are badly needed.
“I’m extremely pleased to see the government making good on its plan to fix the crisis in corrections,” said Thomas. “Taking practical, meaningful steps to relieve the crisis is long overdue — and COVID-19 has made solutions even more urgent. I appreciate that the premier has taken the time to sit down with me and listen to advice from the front-line workers that OPSEU represents.”
Thomas said his union has been lobbying for similar changes for decades.
“I impressed upon the premier to please, please listen to the frontline workers when they’re doing their designs and [to] take their input to heart because they know how to make it work better,” Thomas said.