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THOROLDCUPE Ontario and its members who provide employment services in Niagara are urging regional council to support a recommendation to keep those services public and not-for-profit.

At its meeting tomorrow (Thursday, June 30), council will consider a recommendation from its community services committee to limit participation in the provincial government’s JobsNow pilot project to act as a comparator for evaluation purposes. The province has contracted the British Columbia company WCG International Ltd. to help social assistance recipients find and keep jobs.

We urge council to support the committee’s recommendation and even to go one step further and not participate at all in JobsNow,” said CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan. “When the money needed for front-line services to help Ontario’s poorest residents find jobs ends up as corporate profit, that’s a snow job, not jobs now.”

Our municipal Social Assistance and Employment Opportunities staff, with their community partners, already do an above-average job providing employment services for persons on social assistance,” said Steve Leavitt, president of CUPE 1287. In a presentation to the community services committee on June 20, he noted that in 2002-03, the British Columbia government’s JobWave program paid $25.7 million to WCG International, which also operates a program called JobWave America in California.

Funnelling the funding for employment services through a private corporation will destabilize community-based agencies like the John Howard Society’s Job Gym and employment help centres, Leavitt said. It also creates uncertainty for social assistance recipients who currently receive an integrated service from the region working with community partners.

The issues in Niagara are the same issues in all six communities that the government has selected for pilot projects,” said Sid Ryan. “CUPE Ontario and its members in municipalities and community agencies right across the province will be working hard to convince all levels of government that public money must go to public, not-for-profit services that are effectively helping people in need. Public money should not go to corporate profit.”

For more information, contact:
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-209-0066;
Steve Leavitt, President, CUPE 1287, 905-685-0001;
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-299-9739 ext. 264.