Hospital union calls on province to require use of Ontario made steel in
infrastructure projects

KINGSTON, ON, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - The Ontario government should require that all provincially funded infrastructure projects use steel made in Ontario, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE requested today in pre-budget hearings of the Ontario legislature.

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE Secretary-Treasurer Helen Fetterly stated, "It is not acceptable that major building projects, including new hospital construction is being built in Ontario using foreign-made steel while domestic mills in Hamilton and Niagara are shuttered because of lack of demand. We are calling on the Ontario government to be aggressive in its use of local sourcing, as an important stimulus to our depressed steel industry."

Louis Rodrigues, Vice-president of OCHU/CUPE, asked the parliamentary committee to ensure that hospitals are adequately funded in 2010. "Many Ontario hospitals are in deficit because an aging population is using their services in greater and greater numbers. Ontario's hospital system is the most efficient hospital system in Canada, with the lowest beds and staff to patients ratio and a shortest length of stay of any province. The answer is not cuts, which will make the hospitals less efficient, but real funding increases."

Ms. Fetterly also called on the province to exempt hospitals from the application of the HST.

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: For further information: Helen Fetterly: (613) 551-0688; Louis Rodrigues: (613) 531-1319; Michael Hurley, President, OCHU: (416) 884-0770

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