TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - "Today's budget will make a positive difference in the lives of working families in Ontario - and should be supported by the NDP," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
"The bottom line is that this is a decent budget," said Dias. "While it does not go as far as I would like, it does provide important investments in public services and infrastructure as well as resources for continuing Ontario's economic recovery. We hope the NDP will work with the Liberals to pass the budget."
Highlights from today's budget that will improve the lives of working people in Ontario include:
- the establishment of a $2.5-billion Jobs and Prosperity Fund, including the development of a strategy to support advanced manufacturing
- the proposed establishment of an Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (the details of the plan are still not determined)
- a realistic and long-term plan to invest in public transit
- increased wages for Personal Support Workers and Early Childhood Educators
- the permanent indexation of the Ontario Child Benefit
- expansion of dental services to low-income children
- introduction of health benefits to low-income children
- a 1% increase to social assistance
- progressive income tax reform
- increased supports for Aboriginal communities
"With the leadership of Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath, Ontario has the opportunity to rebuild and ensure all Ontarians can prosper. This is in sharp contrast to Tim Hudak's vision, which would result in a devastating race to the bottom," said Dias.
"The establishment of the Jobs and Prosperity Fund is critical to making the strategic investments in Ontario's economy that we need to ensure the long-term success of our province," stressed Dias. "Every successful economy around the world makes careful and strategic investments to ensure success and growth."
While Unifor is supporting the budget, the union is disappointed the budget does not go further towards protecting the rights and futures of Ontario workers .
"The proposed framework of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan is a good start. However, the devils are in the details - and those details are yet to be worked out," cautioned Dias. "This needs to be a mandatory plan that provides every Ontario worker with access to a guaranteed level of support in their old age. No one should be left guessing whether they'll be able to afford groceries that month."
Unifor's other concerns include:
- spending in health will not keep up with inflation and population growth
- the spending announced for the Youth Employment Strategy is a re-announcement of funding announced in 2013
- despite an emphasis on increasing levels of home care, there is a no mention of the need to reform the system to ensure adequate and equitable levels of care
- despite making other proposals regarding long-term care, the government has yet to commit to implementing an evidence-based, minimum, measurable, enforceable standard of care in long-term care and nursing homes
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, of which 158, 000 are in Ontario. Unifor was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.
For further information:
please contact Sarah Blackstock at 416-949-1072.