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Thomas blasts MacLeod for refusing to meet

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas speaks outside Queen's Park

After a rally for quality public autism services on March 22 at the constituency office of Children, Community, and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, members of MacLeod’s staff told OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas that the minister would meet with him.

But the minister is now refusing to honour that committment.

In response, President Thomas sent MacLeod the following letter:

April 25, 2019
Hon. Lisa MacLeod
Minister of Children Community and Social Services
Hepburn Block, 6th Floor
80 Grosvenor St.
Toronto, ON, M7A 1E9

Dear Minister MacLeod,

On April 16, 2019 I received a letter from your chief of staff in response to my April 3rd letter with suggestions about the future of the province’s autism services.

To say I was surprised and disappointed with the response from your office would be an understatement. 

Throughout your brief term as minister, you have repeatedly tried to hide and twist the truth while disparaging and bullying the people who are in good conscience and faith speaking up for the services and programs you are dismantling.

On March 22nd, a small number of people – including me, the democratically elected president of the OPSEU local that represents more than 130 frontline autism-service workers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and the mother of a child with autism receiving high-quality support at CHEO – met briefly with members of your constituency office staff. During that meeting, your staff committed to arranging a meeting with you.

Why are you now refusing to honour that commitment? 

Autism is a challenging file and your continued deceit and deflection is needlessly hurting families, frontline workers and – ironically – yourself and your government.

The frontline workers of OPSEU and the parents of children with autism are not going away. We have incredibly valuable insight on the successful delivery of autism services, and we will be heard.

Minister, I think you should do the right thing and start listening or resign.


Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union


Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition
Monique Taylor, Official Opposition Critic, Children and Youth Services
Lisa Gretzky, Official Opposition Critic, Community and Social Services
Laura Kirby-McIntosh, President, Ontario Autism Coalition
Shaun Reid, President, OPSEU Local 474
Nicole Taylor