TORONTO – After an extended summer break, Ford’s Conservative government returned to the legislature today. The legislature resumed with a Throne Speech that the Ontario Federation of Labour is calling, a last-ditch attempt to redefine Ford’s failed and failing government. The Speech focused on the pandemic response, with high-level announcements about health care and long-term care, but included little detail about the many actions that must be taken as Ontario looks towards a comprehensive COVID-19 recovery.
“Today’s Throne Speech was full of promises that Ontario workers needed months and years ago, not in the final stretch of a government on its last legs,” said Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour President. “Workers are still waiting for permanent paid sick days, a plan to keep classrooms safe, immediate action to address the staffing crisis in health care and long-term care, and the repeal of legislation like Bill 124 that has restrained wages for public sector workers, including health care workers.”
Despite the emphasis placed on commitments to health care and long-term care, today’s Throne Speech failed to acknowledge the current government’s role in exacerbating the crisis in these sectors. As the Ontario Federation of Labour has previously identified, Ford’s attacks on decent work laws meant that long-term care workers and residents were more vulnerable when COVID-19 outbreaks began early in the pandemic. Similarly, Ford’s cancellation of permanent paid sick days in 2018 gave workers less protection against the spread of the virus.
“Ford’s Conservatives must take responsibility for the decisions they made, that made Ontarians vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis, and that made things worse as the pandemic continued,” said Coates. “Workers have vowed ‘we won’t forget’ the hardship and uncertainty they have faced over the past 18 months, that was made worse by this government’s failures. We are looking for more than words. We need action.”
The Ontario Federation of Labour’s vision for a recovery that puts people first, includes addressing the privatization, underfunding, and attacks on decent work that worsened the pandemic for so many Ontarians. This legislative session workers will be watching closely, to demand more than the half-measures that have dragged the worst parts of this pandemic on for far too long.
“We are ready to fight for the future that the people of this province deserve,” said Coates, “a future that is healthy and safe. A future with decent working and living conditions for all.”
For more information, please contact:
Director of Communications
Ontario Federation of Labour
firstname.lastname@example.org l 416-894-3456