Delegates to NUPGE's 2016 Convention overwhelmingly adopted a campaign to defend and improve community services for all Canadians.
Ottawa (28 June 2016) — Canada’s community services are stretched to the point of crisis. During the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) 2016 Convention delegates unanimously adopted a comprehensive plan of action to save those services and provide better and more meaningful support to the people and communities that rely on them.
Important work all but invisible to the public
“A lot of the work we do is unseen,” said Stephanie Swain, MGEU delegate. “We need to bring awareness to this issue so the public can understand how badly we’re being squeezed right now.”
Funding and accountability crucial
But the campaign is much more than a simple awareness campaign. The plan adopted yesterday also features 10 specific demands meant to ensure that community services are properly funded in each and every province.
Funding is crucial because it’s been cut significantly over the past 20 years.
“This relentless underfunding is making it impossible for me to do my job in a way that is ethical and that allows me to treat people with any heart,” says Jessica Sikora, an OPSEU member and community service worker in Toronto.
“My job is supposed to be to offer solutions to people who need help. But the closest solution my employer offers me is that I should refer them to a food bank or a shelter or to a relentlessly underfunded non-profit.”
A national crisis
The situation is no less desperate in the other provinces.
“We’re seeing the offloading of services to us because we’re, quite frankly, cheap labour,” said BCGEU’s Andrea Duncan. “We have members who are using the same food banks they’re referring clients to.”
“I stand in full support of this plan because politicians know that people in poverty don’t tend to vote,” said Nova Scotia’s John Mortimer. “We have to be their voice.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE