HAMILTON, ON, Dec. 24 /CNW/ - Community leaders in Hamilton are pulling
together this holiday season in a desperate bid to protect services for
new immigrants amid deep cuts in federal funding.
Hamilton's largest immigrant settlement agency today announced it had
reached a pact with staff to put services for clients first as it copes
with a dramatic drop in funding.
Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney confirmed on
Thursday he is cutting $43-million in funding for immigrant settlement
agencies in Ontario, in a move that is hitting Hamilton hard and
contributing to mass layoffs.
The agreement announced today between the Settlement Immigration
Services Organization (SISO) and the Service Employees International
Union Local 1 Canada (SEIU) addresses impending layoffs at the agency.
The pact will support continuity of service for clients and allow the
agency's new management team and staff to make a fresh start and focus
on meeting the needs of newcomers to Hamilton despite the cuts.
Fariha Ali, a settlement worker hit by the layoffs, said: "I am
satisfied the agreement will ensure layoffs and recalls are managed in
a way that is as fair and equitable as possible so that staff have a
say and clients come first."
Sandra Mlekuz, interim executive director of SISO, said in an email to
staff: "Many outstanding issues have been resolved and we look forward
to working together with the union."
Sharleen Stewart, head of SEIU, said: "Newcomers are vital to the future
economic success of Hamilton. Wiping out immigrant settlement services
will hurt the economy and is causing devastation this holiday season."
"I have heard from community leaders and we will be pulling together to
try to overcome recent adversity and put settlement services back on
track in Hamilton," she added.
SEIU Local 1 Canada represents more than 50,000 healthcare and community
services workers across Ontario
SOURCE SEIU Healthcare
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