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Proposed privatization of public services in the municipal and hospital sectors will come at a high cost to residents of West Nipissing, including the loss of good local jobs and potential health risks, according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

The municipality of West Nipissing and Mayor Joanne Savage are mistaken if they think money will be saved by replacing public service workers and contracting out those services to private operators,” said Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario. “It’s been proven over and over again in municipalities across Canada that privatized services cost more and deliver less, and result in the loss of good jobs.”

Ryan says that because private operators must make a profit, many employ non-union, low-waged workers who get no benefits or pensions, making it hard for them to raise a family with dignity and security. Ryan and local advocates are also concerned that the West Nipissing General Hospital is contracting out housekeeping jobs to private operators as people retire.

Studies in Britain show that when private companies take over the cleaning of medical facilities, infections rise dramatically among patients,” said Ryan. “With Ontario experiencing a rise in deaths from the C. difficile superinfection, hospitals must do more like Burlington’s Joseph Brant has done, instead of cutting back and contracting out cleaning services.” Following the death of 62 patients from C. difficile, Joseph Brant hospital established a standard of cleaning each patient’s room twice a day and added $1 million into hiring more cleaning staff and providing them with better disinfectant. He said that’s the direction West Nipissing General should be taking, not contracting out cleaner to for-profit operators.

Tonight, CUPE Ontario is putting on a free rock concert with Trooper in Sturgeon Falls to celebrate and bring home the importance of public services in building and strengthening communities.

Ryan said the Trooper event, which is the first of a series of ‘Rock for Public Services’ concerts across the province, are meant to remind communities that their hard-earned tax dollars have built, paid for and delivered public services. “Residents need to stand up for quality public services and not let politicians sell them off through privatization, contracting out or relocation of these jobs and services,” he added.

For more information, contact:

Sid Ryan
CUPE Ontario President

Collette Proctor
CUPE Rep, North Bay

Valerie Dugale
CUPE Communications