Town of Whitby SignWhitby, Ontario’s municipal employees’ union organized a Thanksgiving Day picnic at Heydenshore Park on Sunday, October 3 free of cost for all Whitby residents. The event featured free food and activities for all age groups including ladder golf, hula hoops and colouring books.

The union, CUPE 53, represents about 500 Town of Whitby employees who deliver a range of public services including child care, recreation programs, senior citizens’ services, town planning as well as infrastructure development and maintenance.

“We wanted to foster a sense of community and belonging among Whitby residents,” said Rob Radford, president of CUPE 53, who works as a Facility Attendant. “The pandemic has been so disruptive as most of us have become accustomed to spending time online, so we felt Thanksgiving was a great time to meet our neighbours, make new friends and talk about the things that matter to our Town.”

The municipal workers’ union is in the midst of campaigning for strong public services as Whitby continues to expand, with its population projected to grow to 193,000 by 2031 from 137,000 today.

“Our town is growing quite fast which means that we will need to expand our public services accordingly to meet residents needs. We will require better services for seniors, affordable child care, and more recreation programs,” said Alannah McIsaac, vice-president of CUPE 53’s part-time unit and Aquatics Coordinator.

Radford said that as Whitby residents, union members are committed to a prosperous, community-oriented Whitby.

“Whitby has the potential to be a world-class and leading municipality that provides excellent services and great jobs for all residents. We should have conversations about the best way to get there,” he said.