RENFREW, Ont. – After vouching to stand up for the services they deliver, Ontario Works staff in the County of Renfrew, members of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4989, were left with no choice but to take action following a disappointing meeting where the parties were unable to come to a settlement.
“The employer did not come to the table to bargain or to discuss how we can work together to advocate for more funding to support the services we deliver to the residents of the County,” said Amy Parker, CUPE National Representative.
“While we remain committed to providing services to our communities, we also remain committed to reaching a settlement that protects those services and the staff that deliver them,” Parker added.
Ontario Works employees, members of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4989, deliver social assistance to approximately 1,100 clients monthly in the County of Renfrew. Every day, they provide support to individuals and focus on helping them achieve financial independence. These social workers deliver social and employment support services as well as financial assistance while enabling clients to contribute in their community.
Each month, County of Renfrew residents are faced with new employment challenges. Current economic conditions have seen the number of caseloads Ontario Works employees process increase. For every 106 clients leaving, the program sees 144 new applicants per month meaning an increase of about 38 clients on average on a monthly basis.
“The province and municipality need to make these services a priority. It is unreasonable to continue to ask staff to keep absorbing the impact of funding shortfalls to valuable services in our community. With climbing caseloads, CUPE 4989 members rely on their benefits to remain healthy in order to provide these services and they deserve a fair contract,” she concluded.
For more information, please contact:
Amy Parker, CUPE National Representative: (613) 735-3500
Marjorie Savoie, CUPE Communications: (613) 864-9924