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Toronto New water legislation that forces municipalities to recover the full cost of water and sewage delivery is setting the stage for the privatization of our public water systems and will mean increased water costs for taxpayers, says the secretary-treasurer of Ontarios largest union.

The reality is that this government has been negligent in providing municipalities with adequate

infrastructure funding. There is a $9 billion deficit in infrastructure requirements across the province. And the Tories are to blame for the dismal state of our water systems not cash-starved municipalities.

In his last few days on the job, Harris has ensured that his hurtful legacy touches every citizen in Ontario. In his initial days as Premier, he began by attacking the poor, the vulnerable and the sick. And hes leaving office with an assault on tenants, hydro consumers and now taxpayers who use water, says Brian OKeefe the Ontario secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The new legislation comes as no surprise, says OKeefe, who points out that, as in health care and education, the Tories have created a crisis and now want to download the burden on taxpayers, who will be hit with higher user fees as municipalities scramble to meet the new provincial guidelines. Smaller municipalities, adds OKeefe will be the ones most hurt if the Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act, becomes law when the Legislature reconvenes in the spring.

The Tory formula is now obvious to many people in Ontario. First, you create the crisis. Then you pass legislation that hurts Ontarians in a very direct and profound way. Then you offer up the private sector as the solution to the crisis you created. This legislation has nothing to do with ensuring the safety of Ontarians and the quality of our water. It has a lot to do with the Tory agenda to privatize public services, says OKeefe.

CUPE represents thousand of members who work for municipalities in the delivery of public water and sewage services.

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For more information please contact:

Brian OKeefe - CUPE Ontario, Secretary-Treasurer
(416) 574-7914
Stella Yeadon - CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774