Premier Designate Ford’s hiring freeze demonstrates a lack of understanding of the scope of government services

Yesterday’s announcement of a unilateral hiring freeze across all government services demonstrates Premier Designate Doug Ford’s lack of understanding of the overall scope of services the Ontario government provides, says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.

“Ford has not even been sworn in as Premier and he has made this sweeping decision without having had the time to actually understand the overall needs of each of the Ministries and the services they provide across Ontario,” says Hahn. “This has the potential of causing significant and perhaps unintended problems on the frontlines in our communities.”

“Rash decisions are not the way to improve the lives of working people and their families,” says Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. “Once the new Premier officially takes office and becomes more familiar with the breadth of necessary jobs that will be effected, we hope he will adjust his decision.”

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Time for a true national holiday to honour Indigenous peoples

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On June 21, CUPE members across Canada will mark National Aboriginal Day, also known as National Indigenous Peoples Day, an annual opportunity to honour and celebrate the diverse cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

Indigenous peoples will be celebrating in their communities, and graciously sharing their ceremonies, customs and heritage with others across the country. It is a day we can all stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples striving to protect and strengthen their cultures, languages, and way of life.

CUPE is committed to working with Indigenous nations, communities and organizations towards reconciliation. As Canada’s largest union, we acknowledge and respect the rights of Indigenous peoples to their traditional, unceded territories, and to their rights to preserve and protect their cultures and languages. Our union is striving to educate CUPE members on the legacy of the residential school system, and the ongoing harm Canada’s assimilationist policies and laws have on Indigenous peoples.

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Preparing for a Doug Ford Conservative Government – a message for CUPE members and staff

The election results on June 7, were not what we wanted and are very concerning for all CUPE members and the public services we provide. With only 40 percent of the vote, Doug Ford and the Conservative Party now have a majority government in Ontario.

The race between the Conservatives and the NDP was close until the end. We had members and staff working hard on campaigns all across the province. Thanks to your hard work we elected many new strong NDP MPPs. Three of them – Joel Harden, Rima Berns-McGown and Sara Singh – were our own CUPE Ontario members. We also came so close in many other ridings.

We now have an official opposition that represents the needs of working people and our families. An opposition we can work with to protect our members from an agenda of job and service cuts.

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Ontario Expanding Mental Health and Addictions Support for Youth

Ontario is investing in six new youth wellness hubs to help more youth access the mental health and addictions services they need, close to home.

Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services, made the announcement today at the Mississauga-based Malton Neighbourhood Services, the network lead for the Malton Youth Wellness Hub.

Youth wellness hubs are walk-in centres where young people ages 12 to 25 can get one-stop access to the mental health and addictions services they need. Services include mental health assessments, treatment for addictions and substance use, therapy and counselling, peer and family support and referrals to health care providers, including psychiatrists. Primary care, education, employment and housing services are also available, all under one youth-friendly roof.

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May is Asian Heritage Month

Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s and was officially recognized by the federal government in May 2002. Every year at this time, CUPE celebrates the contributions that members of Asian communities have made to Canada.

We acknowledge and honour the activism of people of Asian descent in their fight for human rights and social justice. Their ongoing struggles against multiple forms of oppression have been instrumental in strengthening our labour movement and our communities.

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Ottawa eyes streamlined centre for child abuse investigations

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Child and Youth Advocacy Centres already exist in 35 Canadian cities.

Ottawa could soon have a centre where all the immediate services and supports needed in child abuse investigations are gathered under one roof.

Based on the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) model, which has been implemented in hundreds of jurisdictions across North America, Ottawa’s proposed centre would place an emphasis on creating a safe and comforting space for victims.

Dr. Michelle Ward treats child abuse victims in her role as division chief of child and youth protection at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

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Women at work: still a long way to go

CUPE’s work for gender justice has a clear goal: not one step back. We push governments at all levels to apply a gender lens to budgets and update policies to recognize the impact of intersecting forms of discrimination. A review of the latest statistics about women and work reminds us that our collective work for equity and human rights is far from over. All statistics draw on the latest available information – dates vary by source and study.

In 2015, women working in full-time, full-year jobs earned an average of $55,000. That’s 25 per cent less than the average earnings for men working full time, year round. The pay gap for women with university degrees is even larger (about 30 per cent) while it is smaller (about 20 per cent) for younger workers.

Women who were members of a union were paid an average of $7.11, or 32 per cent more an hour, in 2017than non-unionized women. That works out to $13,865 more per year for a full-time worker. The average wage for unionized women is still about five per cent lower than unionized men, but that’s far smaller than the wage gap that non-unionized women face.

The unionization rate for women has been higher than men since 2006, when the unionization rate for men began to gradually decline. In 2017, 32.2 per cent of working women were covered by a union, but just 14 per cent of young women workers under 25 were unionized.

Unionization rates are much higher in the public sector, where 76.7 per cent of working women are unionized. Only 12.8 per cent of women in the private sector are unionized.

On average, racialized women were paid 13 per cent less than white women, equivalent to $5,000 less per year in 2015. Statistics Canada reports that the pay gap for Black women, as well as women of Latin American, Arab, South Asian and Korean descent, is considerably higher than the overall average for racialized women.

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Diverse workplaces bring many benefits

New research demonstrates that having a more ethnically diverse workforce isn’t just important for social justice – it’s also good for the economy.

The report, published jointly by the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, found that a diverse workforce is directly connected to increased productivity and revenues.

Diversity Dividend: Canada’s Global Advantage found that on average, a one per cent increase in ethnocultural diversity in the workforce is associated with a 2.4 per cent increase in revenues and a 0.5 per cent increase in productivity. The impact is strongest in information and cultural industries, communications and utilities, as well as business services. There was a positive impact in all sectors except basic resource processing. Information and cultural industries have an average 6.2 per cent increase in revenues for every percentage increase in ethnocultural diversity, while for education and health the revenue boost is one per cent.

There’s also a strong benefit to having greater gender equality in the workplace. For every one per cent increase in gender diversity, there’s an average 3.5 per cent increase in revenues and a 0.7 per cent increase in productivity, with gains in all sectors.

The report finds organizations that embrace diversity tend to be better positioned to handle change, experience reduced workplace conflict, have staff with a greater variety of skills and experiences, are more innovative and outward looking, and are more likely to gain a reputation as socially responsible. More diverse organizations are less likely to engage in narrow groupthink from culturally similar coworkers, and more likely to explore new approaches to a problem or issue.

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CUPE marks World Water Day 2018

Public water and wastewater services are vital to our lives and are fundamental human rights. These services are the foundation of safe and healthy communities. On March 22, CUPE members and our local and international allies recommit to protecting water and wastewater services from privatization and strengthening these services for future generations.

CUPE works in coalition at the community level to keep our water systems publicly owned and operated. We will keep organizing to stop the spread of privatization through public-private partnerships (P3s) and contracting out. Municipalities need reliable public funding to strengthen and expand water and wastewater systems.

We also know that what comes out of our tap is directly connected with the health of our water sources. CUPE is committed to safeguarding our water services and resources from international trade agreements, bulk water exports and commercial exploitation through bottled water.

A growing number of local governments are making the choice to end privatization, taking back public ownership and control of water and wastewater services. We encourage all municipal and water activists to get involved in the movement to bring water and wastewater services back in house, and to stay alert for signs of privatization.

There are many ways to take action:

Order copies of Back in House. This report documents the benefits of contracting in and tells the story of water services coming back in house in Banff, Hamilton and the BC communities of Sooke and Port Hardy.

Oppose the Liberals’ Canada Infrastructure Bank. This ‘bank of privatization’ is targeting public facilities, including water and wastewater systems. We’ve developed a short fact sheet and list of essential questions for municipal officials and staff. Share these materials with your local elected representative, and with other members of your local. And learn more about the bank at cupe.ca/not-for-sale.

Host a water workshopCUPE’s Union Development Department has developed a one-hour water action workshop. It focuses on fighting privatization and highlights the need for safe drinking water for all Indigenous communities and is a great way to raise awareness with our members.

Check out the Blue Communities project. Blue Communities is a joint initiative with the Council of Canadians that builds support for public water and wastewater services in municipalities and Indigenous communities. A Blue Community formally recognizes the right to water, opposes privatization, and doesn’t sell or use bottled water.

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Children’s Mental Health Ontario - Action

Important: Paid Holidays for Vacation Request Period 2018/19

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Key decisions that were made at the CUPE National Convention

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