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TORONTO, ON – Establishing a system to combat climate change and generate new revenue for projects with social and environmental benefits is an important and positive decision says Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

“Climate change is the biggest environmental and economic challenge of our generation, and Ontario is long overdue for taking real action. CUPE Ontario understands that the market is not the only mechanism to deal with this challenge and that government regulations are also needed. Our union supports putting a price on carbon to ensure that polluters pay for the damage they cause. A revenue-positive model that will allow investment to further combat climate change is the right way to proceed,” said Hahn. “We have some concerns about details that have not yet been announced, but in principle we support the direction announced today to combat climate change and raise revenue.”

Hahn says CUPE members will be watching for important details not yet spelled out, such as measures to ensure any impact will be mitigated for low and middle-income Ontarians, and that any impact on schools, hospitals and other parts of the broader public sector won’t compromise services for Ontarians.

CUPE Ontario has had a consistent message on carbon pricing,” Hahn said. “We’ve said all along that any carbon pricing system brought in must be matched with a strong regulatory regime, be revenue-positive and include real measures to protect Ontarians who are already struggling with unemployment and increasingly common low-wage and precarious work. It must ensure there is no negative impact to the already low funding for public services. And it must include just transition programs to help workers whose jobs will be changed or affected by carbon pricing.”

“Today’s announcement is a big step and we look forward to working with the government on details that will ensure it is a very positive step for all Ontario workers,” Hahn said.

CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.

For further information: Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316