TORONTO – The President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union said that while Premier Wynne's first throne speech has some promising aspects, it will be her first budget that really spells out the direction of the Ontario government.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas said that his union members have specific concerns on how the government plans to deal with Ontarians who receive assistance from the province.
"While we're encouraged that the Liberals will allow people on social assistance to keep more of what they earn, it appears that Wynne's government still wants to move forward on downloading Ontario Disability Support to the municipalities," said Thomas. "This will result in a reduction of benefits for sole-support parents on disability."
Thomas said that, in the weeks ahead, OPSEU will continue to assess Wynne's government to see if the new Premier will commit to preserving quality public services in Ontario and ensuring that services are delivered by professional public sector workers.
"We are certainly not 'partners' with the Liberal government, and our priorities for public services are very clear," Thomas said. "We want assurances that this government will respect the collective bargaining process for all unionized workers in this province."
Thomas also hopes this government will focus on putting resources towards the "99 per cent" instead of continuing the course of billion dollar tax breaks for rich and profitable corporations. "We intend to put suggestions forward for the next Ontario budget, and it is our expectation that we can have an open and honest dialogue with the government that will result in making lives better for working Ontarians," Thomas said. "While economic costs are important, we hope that the new Premier will focus on the human cost of service cuts and strike a better balance than her predecessors."
For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas (613) 329-1931