Category Archives: Uncategorized

Clear Promises on Key Health Issues Missing from Ontario Election

From the Ontario Health Coalition:
Huge Health Care Rally, September 13 at noon at the Ontario Legislature
All Political Parties Must Address Key Health Concerns

After two decades of health restructuring, access to public health care services in Ontario is suffering.  Acute and chronic care hospital beds have been cut in half. While home care has increased and more long-term care beds have opened, extreme levels of hospital overcrowding yield evidence that hospital bed cuts have gone too far.

“While promises to improve access to home care are welcome, all political parties’ platforms are lacking details on how the parties will deal with the severe shortfall of hospital beds across Ontario,” said Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition Director. “The McGuinty government deserves credit for the improvements they have made in access to family doctors, nurse-led clinics, community health centres and family health teams. They have also reduced wait times for a number of surgeries and treatments. But there is a severe shortage of acute care hospital beds, and access to longer-term care for seniors both in hospitals and in the community is poor and inequitable.”

“This election Ontarians need to push our political parties for clear commitments on the key health care issues,” she concluded. “Will they stop privatization and protect public non-profit health care? Will they commit to keeping small and rural hospitals’ acute care and emergency services open? Will they restore closed hospital beds and services and address the severe shortage of hospital beds? What concrete steps will they take to improve democratic governance and public accountability? And importantly, since they all want to download ever more patients out of hospital into home care, will they commit to establishing a stable public non-profit home care system, like every other province in Canada?”

Key Findings on Access to Care:

  • After two decades of hospital cuts, Ontario has the fewest hospital beds per population of any province in Canada.  In fact, Ontario is fourth from the bottom of all industrialized countries in numbers of hospital beds per population, followed only by Turkey, Chile and Mexico.
  • 18,500 hospital beds have been cut since 1990.
  • Ontario’s hospital occupancy rate is now 98%, far above occupancy rates in the rest of the industrialized world.  Bed shortages have contributed to ER backlogs, cancelled surgeries, high infection rates, and longer waits for care.
  • More than 23,900 people are waiting for placement in a long term care home. New beds are needed in public and non-profit long-term care homes and minimum care standards are needed to ensure adequate care levels.
  • More than 10,000 people are on wait lists for home care. Ontario has the most privatized home care system in the country and is the only province that runs home care entirely through a destabilizing competitive bidding system.
  • Access to front-line medicine (nurse-led clinics, community health centres, nurse practitioners, family doctors, and family health teams) has improved. Continued progress is needed, particularly in underserved areas.
  • Wait times for some treatments and surgeries have improved.
  • Democratic governance of health care institutions and services is being eroded.

Labour Day 2011

What is a Living Wage?


A living wage is based on the principle that full-time work should provide families with a basic level of economic security, not keep them in poverty. It is the amount needed for a family of four with two parents working full-time to pay for basic necessities, support the healthy development of their children, escape financial stress and participate in their communities.

Kingston has a group of people working on a Living Wage campaign. See their website here:


Employers, Not Taxpayers Should Pay for Injured Workers


 (TORONTO) – The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) marked June 1st as Injured Worker’s Day by hosting a media conference and joining a rally at the Queen’s Park legislature to draw attention to the struggles of the thousands of injured workers who are unfairly excluded from Ontario’s workers’ compensation coverage.

 “Workers in unprotected sectors are often left with no option for compensation outside of a costly legal battle with employers who have the resources to fight back,” said OFL President Sid Ryan. “These workers, who are too often women, are left to rely on taxpayer support through social assistance and the provincial health care system, instead of the employer who injured them.”

Twenty-eight percent of Ontario’s employers are currently being allowed to get away without paying into Ontario’s workplace health and safety prevention and enforcement systems. This leaves an estimated 38 percent of Ontario’s workers without Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage.

“It is shameful that so many injured workers are being driving into poverty and hardship because there is no government protection for them,” said Maryam Nazemi, an Early Childhood Educator who was injured on the job in 2004 and was ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. “Too many employers are able to cut corners and put workers at risk. They don’t pay into the government’s inspection system and they certainly don’t offer support to workers when we get hurt. They think that when we are no longer useful, they can throw us away.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour is calling on the McGuinty government to:
–       Put and end to the poverty facing injured workers;
–       Extend mandatory WSIB coverage for all workers, in all sectors;
–       Restore injured workers benefits to the full cost of living;
–       Eliminate experience rating;
–       Eliminate “deeming” and practices that limit injured workers’ post-injury benefits.

“It is time for the McGuinty government to stop sweeping injured workers under the rug,” said Ryan. “Every worker deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 Ontario unions and over one million members.


           April 28, 2011    (TORONTO)
Inspired by the recent surge of support for the NDP and the potential for a reshaping of Canadian politics, OFL President Sid Ryan called upon every one of the over one million unionized workers in Ontario to rally support behind Jack Layton and the NDP.

Every union leader in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, labour councils, shop stewards and union and community activists are being urged to get involved in these last days of the campaign.
“We represent thousands of trade union activists in every community who will work tirelessly for the next five days pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, staffing phones and convincing their neighbours to put their confidence in Jack Layton’s vision for a progressive Canada,” said Ryan.

“If you believe that public pensions and the ability of seniors to live with dignity is more important than fighter jets, then this is your moment.

“If you believe that the future and expansion of health care is more important than super jails, then volunteer with your local NDP candidate.

“If you want an economy that serves us all – workers, entrepreneurs, mothers, fathers, students and communities – then vote for the NDP,” said Ryan.

Over the past year, the OFL has been instrumental in mobilizing thousands of its members in Toronto, Hamilton and Sudbury and across the province on key issues and is redoubling its efforts.

“Here’s your opportunity to shape history. Don’t sit on the sidelines.  These next days and Election Day is our chance to put the NDP, its leader Jack Layton and provincial candidates over the top,” said Ryan.

What kinds of things does an arrogant, corporate government do?

Harper has been SO bad SO often that it’s possible to forget some of the terrible things done by him and his right wing reform party. So, to remind you, Frances Ricks, Ph.D (BC) has compiled a list and Peter Boyle has adapted it for our reading enjoyment.
Mr. Harper….

  1. Breached his own fixed election laws
  2. Taxed income trusts despite a pre-election promise not to tax them
  3. Didn’t answer the allegations he bribed Chuck Cadman to vote with the harper party
  4. Produced a guide to disrupting parliamentary committees
  5. Several of his ministers have misled parliament (Clements, MacKay and Oda)
  6. Prorogued parliament twice to avoid defeat in the House
  7. Found in contempt of parliament 3 times
  8. Muzzled his ministers and MPs
  9. Sacked or forced resignation of public servants who tried to do their jobs rather than kowtowing to him (e.g. Linda Keen for insisting on safety standards at Chalk River, Munir Sheikh of Stats Can, many others)
  10. Cancelled the long form census which provides vital data to businesses and others, spending more of our money to do so
  11. Leads the most secretive government in Canadian history
  12. After inheriting a surplus, created the largest deficit in our country`s history
  13. Continues to claim credit for “strong economy” whose strength  actually comes from Liberal surplus and Liberal refusal to gut banking regulations (Harper supported deregulation)
  14. Insisted there was no economic crisis, took action only under intense pressure from opposition, media
  15. Spent $1.2 billion on G-8, including fake lake while his police brutally assaulted peaceful demonstrators and observers, including women and an aging civil servant
  16. Wants to spend $10 billion on prisons for unreported criminals, although crime rate continues its long decline
  17. Wants to spend $18 – 30 billion on planes that have yet to be built, and no case made for why we need them
  18. Spent $100 million advertising what a wonderful a leader he is, and thereby  bought much support from the media
  19. Has ignored climate change and earned Canada more environmental “fossil” awards than any prior Prime Minister
  20. Has tarnished Canada’s international reputation to the extent that we were denied a seat on the UN Security Council
  21. Persistently concealed information about the abuse of Afghan detainees
  22. By losing the rights to use Camp Mirage, endangered our troops and and cost $300 million
  23. Bribed two provinces to bring in the Harper Sales Tax against the wishes of the people
  24. Gave a standing ovation to a minister who misled parliament and forged a document
  25. Appointed two senators who had 67 forged invoices, falsely claiming tax rebates for election expenses.
  26. His staff is being investigated by police about 3 separate incidents
  27. Is a control freak who has constantly demonstrated his contempt for parliament and the 2/3 of Canadians who have voted against him. If he were to get a majority he would act to gut health care, the CBC and other quintessential Canadian institutions – as he already has the census.Don’t vote for Harper!

Replacement workers harm labour relations

Recently, over 3500 members of the United Steel Workers walked the picket line for over a year because Vale Inco refused to negotiate a fair contract and instead turned to scab labour to continue production. The use of scabs in this strike, just like so many others, prolonged the hardship and devastated the community.

Anti-scab laws have existed in Quebec since 1978; in British Columbia since 1993. Successive governments in those two provinces have never repealed those laws because of the clear benefits to workers and employers. Ontario banned temporary replacement workers from 1993 to 1995.

During this same time period investments into the province increased. Since Quebec introduced their anti-scab legislation, disputes have been less violent and a healthy balance between respecting worker rights and mediating a resolution for negotiations exists there.

On March 31, 2011 NDP MPP (Nickel Belt) France Gelinas’ Private Member’s Bill to ban replacement workers during strikes will be debated in the Legislature at Second Reading. The government should implement this legislation now for two main reasons:

  1. Using Scabs or Temporary Replacement Workers during a strike or lockout is damaging to a community’s social fabric in the short and the long term, and damages the well-being of workers and the economy;
  2. The Legislation will reduce the length and divisiveness of labour disputes, keep workers working and the economy growing

There is growing support for MPP Gélinas’ bill and people will be rallying in Toronto on the day of the final reading. Contact your local MPPs to let them understand that scab labour should not be part of the bargaining process.