“How can the Ford government make sweeping changes to the Ontario Autism Program without consulting the very people who will be directly affected?” — Ed Arvelin, OPSEU’s Executive Board
Thunder Bay (18 April 2019) — Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) are hitting the road to fight for more autism and special services. They will be visiting all of Progressive Conservative MPP Greg Rickford’s constituency offices throughout northwestern Ontario.
MPPs can't hide in the riding
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President, says this kind of action is exactly what the union must do to push back against the Ford government’s destructive agenda.
“We’re finding it’s very effective to show up at Conservative constituency offices,” said Thomas. “The Conservative MPPs have turned Queen’s Park into a bunker where they can try to avoid us, but sooner or later they have to come back to their ridings -— they can run, but they can’t hide.”
Conservative government held no consultations on autism changes
Ed Arvelin, a member of OPSEU’s Executive Board from northwestern Ontario says the government didn’t consult anyone about funding changes to autism services. “How can the Ford government make sweeping changes to the Ontario Autism Program without consulting the very people who will be directly affected?”
“There is already a shortage of public services and frontline autism workers in northwestern Ontario and many families have to travel long distances to get their children the services they need,” said Sharon Bak, OPSEU member and President of the Thunder Bay Family Network. “We can’t do more with less.”
More funding needed for autism and special services for children
OPSEU/NUPGE members want to meet with Rickford and have him petition the Ford government on behalf of the constituents he represents for increased funding for autism and other special services for children in northwestern Ontario. They will also be fundraising for the Thunder Bay Family Network, which is a non-profit organization offering support, networking and resources to families.
The Families Know Best Voyage launches on April 18, at the Thunder Bay OPSEU Region 7 office. The following week, the group will visit all of MPP Greg Rickford’s constituency offices throughout northwestern Ontario before finishing where it began in Thunder Bay.
- April 18: Voyage launch, OPSEU Region 7 office, 326 Memorial Avenue, Thunder Bay, 4:30 p.m
- April 23: Greg Rickford’s Fort Frances Constituency Office, 279 Scott Street, Unit 1, 1 p.m. (local time)
- April 24: Greg Rickford’s Kenora Constituency Office, 300 McLellan Avenue, 9:30 a.m. (local time)
- April 25: Greg Rickford’s Dryden Constituency Office, 439 Government Street, Unit 2, 9:30 a.m.
- April 26: Voyage end, OPSEU Region 7 office, 326 Memorial Avenue, Thunder Bay, 4 p.m.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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