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Delegates to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario convention in Niagara Falls will gather en masse on Thursday, May 22 at noon to press the Ontario government to stop underfunding services for children and youth at risk. The rally will be held at Oakes Garden Theatre across from the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel. Over 1,000 delegates are attending the union’s 45th annual conference from May 21-24.

Child protection services that help children, youth and parents at risk are being cut in communities across Ontario because the provincial government is underfunding child welfare services, according to (CUPE) Ontario.

It’s impossible for child welfare agencies to provide the quality support and protection to at-risk children and youth when they are forced to cut services, cut staff and cut programs because of serious underfunding,” said Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario President.

Last month, Family and Children’s Services Niagara (FACS) announced it will cut two Best Start and Early Learning and Parenting programs and a day care centre, affecting 100 children and parents. That follows cuts to its entire first response team, which provided a high level of support to children and youth.

At this rally and media conference:

Date:  Thursday, May 22, 2008
Time:  12:00 noon
Location: Oakes Garden Theatre
(across from Sheraton on the Falls Hotel)
Speakers at the rally will include:

• Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario President
• Carolyn Taylor, CUPE 2328 President, representing workers at Family and Children’s Services Niagara
• Heather Laquerre, Niagara area parent

For more information, contact:

Valerie Dugale    CUPE Communications     647-225-3685