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Guelph, Ontario Workers in associations for community living (ACLs) delivered a special Valentine to Community, Family and Children’s Services Minister Brenda Elliott today as they launched their Fair Wage Campaign.

“We’re asking the minister and the Eves government to have a heart,” said CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan. “These workers want to be able to provide consistent, quality care to their vulnerable clients, but they’re struggling with excessive workloads and very low pay.”

The province announced revitalization funding last year for developmental services, following the release of a KPMG study that identified a 20% to 25% gap between wages for ACL workers and those doing similar jobs in schools, hospitals and government. The revitalization funding worked out to an average increase of 4.3% for associations to put towards salaries and benefits.

For 2002-03, the provincial government is providing an additional $21.1 million for wages and benefits an amount that really only covers existing pay equity obligations.

“Our hearts are broken,” said CUPE ACL Bargaining Committee Chairperson Jim Beattie. “We took the government seriously when they said they wanted to revitalize this sector. Instead, we’re just going to keep falling farther behind.”

A report released last fall by researchers at McMaster University and funded by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board found that underfunding and workplace restructuring have resulted in increased rates of violence, injury, bullying and workload-related stress for both workers and clients in the developmental services sector. It also called for additional funding.

CUPE ACL workers have launched a province-wide campaign for fair wages and for provincial standards to address wage rates that vary widely from agency to agency.


For more information, contact:
Jim Beattie, Chair ACL Bargaining Committee
Peter Paulekat, CUPE National Rep
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications
416-616-6142 (cell)