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CUPE municipal workers from across Canada met in Toronto on February 16 to tackle key issues facing the sector.

Under the theme of Building Community, CUPE members examined ways to deliver quality public services to Canada’s communities in the face of underfunding, privatization and trade agreements which threaten to undermine those services.

CUPE National President Paul Moist said municipal services are crucial to protect the quality of life of Canadians and are worth fighting for.

All of you are valuable public employees,” said Moist. “At times we run into challenges but our greatest strength is your work, the services you provide to the community and your relationship with the public. Public services are worth fighting for and we’re up to the challenge.”

The meeting took place not far from Toronto’s city hall where Mayor Rob Ford has announced plans to contract out residential curbside collection of waste and a variety of other waste collection operations.

Moist pledged the full support and resources of CUPE and its more than 600,000 members to help local municipal workers protect public services that make Toronto such a great place to live.

Members also heard from an expert panel moderated by CBC journalist Wendy Mesley. Panelists addressed the importance of harnessing public support for public services and the underlying economic and political environment that frames the debate about how to best deliver quality services to the public.

The meeting continues to February 18.