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Speech from the Throne fails to reflect workers’ priorities

Thursday July 12, 2018

TORONTO- The newly elected Ontario government’s Throne Speech revealed no plans to address workers’ priorities or defend workers’ rights.

“If Premier Ford wants to truly serve the people of Ontario, I invite him to remember that includes all of us; unionized workers, minimum-wage workers, immigrants, Indigenous people and women,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. “The way to build a positive relationship with all Ontarians is to invest in public services, good jobs and worker’s rights, not immediately threaten the right to collective bargaining and continue a sweeping public sector hiring freeze.”

Throughout the election, Unifor raised concerns over the lack of a costed platform from the Progressive Conservative Party. Today’s Speech from the Throne failed to clarify Premier Ford’s platform, or offer a solution to the funding crisis in health care. Unifor members who work in hospitals, health care, and long-term care have long sounded the alarm about the perils of already low staffing levels.

"Unifor would welcome an opportunity to discuss with Premier Ford concrete ways to uphold equity, prosperity and the Constitutional labour rights for all working people, including putting workers first in trade relations and the fight against U.S. tariffs,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The fact is, in order to ensure a better life for Ontarians and trade that benefits all workers, government and labour must work together.”

In a media release introducing the Throne Speech, the Office of the Premier referenced ending the York University strike, where members of CUPE 3903 are on the picket line.  Unifor is in solidarity with these precariously employed campus workers and reminds Premier Ford that the freedom to collectively bargain is fundamental to labour relations in Canada and workers will defend that right.

The union is also concerned that pulling out of the Western Climate Initiative, cancelling cap-and-trade, without any alternative carbon-emission reduction plan leaves workers and families without a clean future and access to tomorrow’s green jobs.

“Now is not the time to roll things backward in Ontario or to hesitate when faced with the monumental challenge of climate change. Now is the time for government to finally set out a clear plan that will ensure fairness in the workplace, better wages and a strong economic future for all working families,” continued Rizvi.

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For more information, please contact Sarah McCue, Unifor National Communications Representative at sarah.mccue@unifor.org or 416-458-3307 (cell).