TORONTO, Jan. 19, 2024 /CNW/ – OPSEU/SEFPO was shocked to learn of the Ford government’s plans to move multiple ServiceOntario locations into Staples and Walmart stores. Both are American for-profit corporations. This is just the latest in a series of moves by this government to hand over public profits and services to grocery chain and big box store CEOs.
“It is no coincidence that a Staples executive donated to Doug Ford’s leadership campaign,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick. “This move is further evidence that Doug Ford is not ‘for the people’ – he works for big business CEOs and his donors.”
For years, the union has raised serious concerns about ServiceOntario privatization and its impact on both quality and access to services. We have already seen the impacts of privatization, particularly in Northern and rural communities.
A few years back, a privately-owned ServiceOntario in Belle River was shut down due to the owner’s health problems. This left a huge service gap for residents of Belle River, creating accessibility barriers to public services which should be easily available for all Ontarians. OPSEU/SEFPO ran a campaign to make the Belle River ServiceOntario public.
There are currently 195 privately owned and operated ServiceOntario locations across the province. While OPSEU/SEFPO does not represent workers at these locations, we have called for all privatized ServiceOntario locations to be returned to the public.
“We continue to call on this government to put an end to their privatization agenda, return privatized ServiceOntario locations to the public and strengthen our public services,” said Hornick. “Revenues from publicly owned and operated ServiceOntario locations get invested into the province – whereas a ServiceOntario in a Staples or Walmart will only make for-profit corporations and their shareholders richer. What’s more, workers at publicly operated ServiceOntario locations have union-backed power to negotiate with their employer for better wages and working conditions.”
OPSEU/SEFPO represents 2000 Ontario Public Service (OPS) members working at 80 publicly operated ServiceOntario locations.
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)