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Workers in associations for community living (ACLs) in Ontario have launched a campaign to press for fair wages.

“These workers want to be able to provide consistent, quality care to their vulnerable clients,” said CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan. “But theyre struggling with excessive workloads and very low pay.”

The province announced extra funding last year after a consultant reported that ACL workers made between 20 and 25 per cent less than doing similar jobs in schools, hospitals and government.

But the money worked out to an average funding increase of 4.3 per cent.

The province will increase ACL funding for wages and benefits by $21.1 million in 2002-03, but this will only cover existing pay equity obligations.

CUPE ACL Bargaining Committee Chairperson Jim Beattie asked Ontario CUPE members to send a fax to their MPP asking them to push for a base funding increase to ACL funding

“We took the government seriously when they said they wanted to revitalize this sector,” said Beattie. “Instead, were just going to keep falling farther behind.”