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ONTARIO ๐Ÿ’ต Ontario Budget Sustains Previous Progress for Workers, More Needed to Bolster Quality Care and Economic Growth

Thursday, 28 March 2024 12:00.PM

Unifor, Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, welcomes key investments in infrastructure and sustained funding to reduce health care staff shortages and wait times, but more is needed to build Ontario's economy and good jobs.

"The Ford government has made crucial progress on growing Ontario's manufacturing footprint, including important investments in the auto sectorโ€”we continue to call on government to do more to further drive economic growth," said Unifor National President Lana Payne. "Sustained investments in transit, health care, and other critical infrastructure are critical steps to building an Ontario that works for working people and their families."

Unifor is encouraged by progress on the government's transit plan and commitment to reduce costs for commuters, but additional investment is needed to improve transit quality and ensure the creation of good jobs.

Unifor is pleased to see that previous investments to reduce health care staffing shortages and wait times will continue but is frustrated that the investments were not enhanced and that the march toward private care continues.

"The Ontario budget makes progress in health care but doesn't do enough to fix the backlog of problems impacting our health care system, workers, and their families," says Samia Hashi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. "Access to quality care, long wait times, staffing levels, and suppressed wages have led the system into chaos. The over-reliance on for-profit temporary workers has drained nearly $1 billion public dollars to private agencies that could have otherwise been re-invested into a system of high-quality, public care."

Unifor is concerned with the continued funding of private, for-profit home and community care, a model that creates worse outcomes for both patients and workers. Unifor holds that the province must immediately halt further privatization of health care.

In the union's pre-budget submission, Unifor called for the Ontario government to take a bold stance to build Ontario including calling for provincial actions to aid housing affordability and availability, robust investment in public health care with an emphasis on attracting and retaining staff, greater access to child care, decent work for child care workers, added funding for public transit, enhanced WSIB supports, and support for workers in industries in transition, such as Canada's auto sector.

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