Four things you should know about Bill 124

On Jne 5, the Ontario government introduced Bill 124, the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019.
Peter Bethlenfalvy, current Treasury Board President and former Wall Street executive, claims that the bill “allow[s] for reasonable wage increases, while protecting the province’s front-line services, restoring the province’s financial position and respecting taxpayer dollars.” In reality, however, the bill represents a significant attack on the wages, benefits, and rights of workers across the province.

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Statement from OPSEU President and First Vice-President/Treasurer: OPSEU marks Ford's first year of fumbles

TORONTOJune 7, 2019 /CNW/ – As we mark the one year anniversary of Ford’s election as premier, it’s a good time to reflect on a year full of Ford fumbles; to think about where we’ve been and what we’re fighting for, together.

We’re facing the most corrupt, tone deaf and ham-fisted government this province has ever seen. It’s no wonder Ford’s popularity has plummeted below 20 per cent. He’s the King of Chaos. And nobody likes it. Not workers. Not business. Not the people. To quote former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman; “Nobody.”

Despite his “for the people” rhetoric, Ford’s first year in office has proven that he’s only for rich people. He’s doled out a string of top-brass jobs to his insider buddies like Dean French and Ken Hughes. We should not forget the attempted appointment of Ron Taverner as OPP commissioner. Ford has also doled out $3.8 billion in tax handouts for the wealthy, despite crying foul over Ontario’s deficit.

Meanwhile, he’s gone after the most vulnerable groups to pay for his tax cuts – including women, children, Francophones, students, refugees and workers. He’s obsessed with exerting control over the City of Toronto, from slashing its City Council in half to taking control of transit and riding roughshod over its development plans.

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Statement from OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas on the introduction of a public sector pay bill

TORONTOJune 5, 2019 /CNW/ – The bill introduced today capping wage settlements shows that Premier Doug Ford has no respect for the rule of law or the right to fair collective bargaining.

This bill has nothing to do with Ontario’s finances. It has everything to do with Ford’s irresponsible decision to push beer and wine into convenience stores.

The Premier is taking money from the pockets of front line workers to pay the likely billion dollar price tag of his decision to weasel out of the contract with the Beer Store.

This bill shows a complete lack of respect for frontline workers who deserve better and OPSEU will use every tool, legal or otherwise to stop this dictatorial approach.

Ford didn’t even have the courage to face frontline workers, instead sending one of his puppets, Peter Bethlenfalvny to deliver words he could barely utter.

It’s hardly surprising that Ford behaves like a “rule of law outlier”given his history of paying little attention to those who turn to the courts for relief and enforcement. Just ask his sister-in-law who has filed a lawsuit against him to get access to her late husband, Rob Ford’s estate.

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Ford government to cap pay raises for public servants in bid to control spending

In a bid to rein in spending, Premier Doug Ford is threatening to impose a cap on pay hikes for hundreds of thousands of public servants.

The Progressive Conservatives on Wednesday tabled legislation that would limit wage increases to 1 per cent a year for the next three years.

But the austerity move would not take effect right away because the legislature is rising for the summer on Thursday so, barring an emergency session in July or August, the bill cannot become law until the fall.

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Province tables legislation to cap public sector wages

The province of Ontario has tabled legislation to cap public sector wages at one per cent over the next three years.

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy introduced the legislation titled Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.

“When we took office almost a year ago it was clear the previous government spent recklessly and repeatedly made poor fiscal decisions,” Bethlenfalvy said during a news conference after tabling the legislation. “What we now know is that action must be taken and everyone must do their part.”

Bethlenfalvy said Ontario public sector compensation represents roughly half of all expenditures, totaling $72 billion annually, and in light of the province’s massive deficit actions had to be taken.

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To the members of Cupe 3223

This is a reminder of the local meeting being held on April 25th at noon in the Board room.

This meeting will be for nominations for the following positions:

President, Secretary H&S Chair, PR/Training; Equality & Inclusion Rep; H&S reps (x3) Trustees x 3 and stewards (x5)

In order to stand for nomination, you need to have attended four meetings since April 2018 up to March 2019 and be a member in good standing, as per the by-laws.

If you are not certain if you have met that criteria, you can still be nominated and if there are any issues you will be advised.

If you are not able to attend the meeting this month but would like to stand for a position, please put your intent in writing to the Executive.

Voting will be held at the May meeting on May 23rd at noon.   There are no proxy votes, you must be in attendance, and be a member in good standing to vote.

If you are not sure that you would like to hold a position but are interested in gaining more knowledge please let a member of the Executive know and we will send you information as it comes out on upcoming trainings through Cupe.

If you are aware of others who have not received this email eblast, please have them submit their personal email address to any member of the Executive in order to keep up to date on the events of the Local.

A light lunch will be served while quantities last.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting.  If you have any questions, please reach out to any member of the executive.   

On behalf of the Local Executive

Heather Murray

05) 718 0575

Still a long way to go in Ontario on this Transgendered Day of Remembrance

Tuesday, November 20th, we mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance by celebrating victories in the advancement of trans rights and by recognizing how vigilant we must remain in the face of increasingly vocal hate and intolerance.

This year, for the first time in Ontario’s history, CUPE Ontario’s own Susan Gapka, a long-time social activist in Toronto, became the first trans person ever to be presented with the key to the city. Her work on the advancement of trans rights and as a prominent housing advocate have made a significant difference in the lives of so many.

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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


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

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

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


Key decisions that were made at the CUPE National Convention