Ontario government fall economic statement fails to invest in workers

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TORONTO – With rising surpluses and deepening service cuts, the Ontario Fall Economic Statement shows that government has not fully learned the lessons of this month’s labour strife.

“The Government of Ontario should be using these funds to build strong services and invest in critical infrastructure and manufacturing, growing good jobs in both the public and private sectors. Ontario’s healthcare and education systems are long overdue for increased funding, and workers in Ontario need a raise,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President.

In its fall economic statement the Ontario Government predicts that revenue is already $7 billion higher than projected in the 2022 Budget documents. The Ford government plans to direct most of the excess revenues towards reducing the deficit and further tax cuts, instead of investing in crumbling public services, including the workers delivering those services.

“Premier Ford needs to look around and take some responsibility for his actions here. There is a government surplus that should be directed toward the urgent crisis in our healthcare system and be used to actually pay workers a living wage. Meanwhile, the government’s own radio ads are still trying to pass the buck and blame the federal government for their own failures to properly fund public services,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director.

In his update Finance Minister Bethlanfelvy mentioned job creation numerous times but failed to recognize that job quality is just as important as the number of jobs created.

“Creating thousands of low-paid, precarious and dangerous jobs in Ontario’s health care system does nothing to address the affordability crisis raging in our province. It’s not enough to repeal Bill 28. Government must also recognize it will need to significantly increase wages and improve working conditions across the public service including in education and health services,” continued Rizvi.

Unifor is pleased to see the continued development of the Critical Mineral Strategy and investments in the auto sector to ensure the province is a leader in hybrid, electric vehicle and battery production. The union also welcomes the government’s plan to create a paid sick days program by extending the Worker Income Protection Benefit to reimburse employers when workers take sick days.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For more information, please contact Unifor National Communications Representative Hamid Osman: @email or (647) 448-2823.