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Ontario Public Service

Second wave of OPS layoffs undercutting front-line services: OPSEU

We the North
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TORONTO – Today, the Ontario government will issue another 231 layoff notices as the province continues to eliminate positions across government services. These layoffs will further erode support to front-line services and increase workloads and public waiting times.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, says that Dalton McGuinty is eliminating jobs in a way that will prevent public backlash until it’s too late.

“We call these job eliminations ‘stealth cuts’,” Thomas said. “Ministries are eliminating some front-line service positions and many more jobs that support front-line services. The net effect is that services will suffer, workloads for remaining staff will increase and wait times for services will steadily grow longer. But because this will happen slowly, by the time the public complains it will be too late.”

In the latest wave of layoffs, Thomas points directly to three ministries that bore the brunt of the cuts: Attorney General, Health and Long-Term Care and Transportation. They are losing administrative and IT positions.

“Our members have already raised the alarm that the layoffs will increase wait times for claims processing in Health, increase wait times for the processing of legal documents and court orders in the province’s courts, and could affect road safety for large truck carriers if there are delays in identifying unauthorized drivers and issuing permits for oversize loads,” said Thomas. “These are the kinds of vital services that operate in the background every day. Every one of these job cuts will weaken frontline public services, and will continue to do so until the system breaks.”

Thomas is again calling on the Premier to stop cutting public services at a time when Ontario can least afford it.

“The economy can’t afford job cuts, and the people of Ontario can’t afford to lose any more services,” Thomas said. “You can’t build a strong Ontario if you keep weakening the foundation. Stop the cuts before it’s too late.”