TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - The president of the Ontario Public
Service Employees Union is calling on the government of Ontario to
re-think its plans to privatize ServiceOntario.
"This decision has been made without consultation and without full
consideration of the impacts of privatization," said Warren (Smokey)
Thomas. "I am calling on the government to put its plans to sell
ServiceOntario on hold."
Thomas made the statement following remarks today by Finance Minister
The government's own data show that Ontarians 85 per cent of the most
frequent transactions at ServiceOntario take place in person, Thomas
said, and people prefer and expect in-person service.
"Face-to-face service needs to be maintained," he said, "but from the
Minister's remarks it appears that if you expect personal services from
this government, you're out of luck.
"In addition, we strongly object to handing ServiceOntario over to a
private company as a so-called 'public-private partnership'" Thomas
said. "P3s mean citizens pay - not for the service they receive, but
for high profits and higher financing costs in the private sector. The
Minister acknowledged today that the provinces financial problems are
revenue problems so ServiceOntario, which collects billions in fees,
should be supported rather than undermined."
Thomas said the lack of consultation on the upcoming provincial budget
has been "a low point in the democratic history of this province." He
called on the government to craft a consultation process that would be
at least as inclusive as the traditional pre-budget hearings of the
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
"The Minister stated clearly today that he now wants a dialogue," Thomas
said. "He recognized that Ontario has the most efficient provincial
public services in Canada and he seemed to be hinting that corporate
tax cuts are a questionable economic and fiscal strategy, which is what
we've been saying all along.
"Democracy means people have a say in the decisions that affect them,"
he said. "I've got 2,000 hard-working, capable members who have been
providing quality public services asking serious question about their
futures. We all welcome the Minister's statements about the importance
of balance and dialogue. They've got a right not only to be heard but
to be listened to. OPSEU is always ready to get into this discussion ."
For further information:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas (613) 329-1931 (cell)