In response to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Jeff Yurek’s welcome announcement that the Ministry will review the decision made by the previous government to close the Ontario Tree Seed Plant, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas sent the following letter to the Minister.
(Click here to learn more about the highly-specialized and important work OPSEU members do at the Ontario Tree Seed Plant to promote the viability, biodiversity and resilience of Ontario’s forests.)
Letter from OPSEU President to Minister
July 19, 2018
The Honourable Jeff Yurek
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
Room 445, Main Legislative Building
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8
On behalf of OPSEU, our members who work at the Ontario Tree Seed Plant in Angus, and concerned members of ours across the province, I’d like to thank you for your decision to review the previous government’s decision to close the tree seed plant.
When I wrote to you at the beginning of this month, I shared our members’ concerns with you about the Ministry’s plans to close the plant. I know you have also heard concerns expressed by many community groups, environmental groups and industry stakeholders.
During this review, I would urge you to halt all closing procedures at the plant and reinstate all staff who have been let go, including those staff still present whose jobs are currently scheduled to end in September. The Ontario Tree Seed Plant can’t afford to lose the highly-skilled workers who keep it running.
As bargaining agent for the technicians and support staff who keep the plant running, OPSEU looks forward to participating in this consultation. As you know, our members extract, test and store billions of tree seeds every year, and make them commercially available to nurseries, forestry companies, tree planting programs and individuals. I know our members will be happy to share their expertise and ideas for continuing to run the plant efficiently within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
My members and I look forward to sharing our ideas with you.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
cc: The Honourable Jim Wilson, Simcoe-Grey MPP
OPSEU Executive Board
Elaine Bagnall, OPSEU Ministry Employee Relations Committee Co-Chair for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry