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There’s lots of action on the water front. More than 100 members of CUPE 416 jammed a meeting of the City of Toronto’s Works and Environment Committee Wednesday to deliver a clear message, opposing “best practices” and the privatization of water and waste water services. In the face of evidence that “best practices” has cost $24 million to date, while “saving” only $3 million - mostly through layoffs - the Committee agreed that “best practices” should be shelved until a full audit can be conducted. And it passed a motion opposing the privatization of water and wastewater services.

This followed a week after four Hamilton locals released a report documenting the failure of privatized water services in that region. In a study conducted for CUPE Locals 5, 167, 1006 and 1220, John Anderson of McMaster University shows that under management by Philip, there are mounting problems with quality, public safety and accountability. The report argues that since Philip has not lived up to its obligations, the region should terminate its contract. Pressure is mounting on the Council to act.

In a news conference earlier this week, National President Judy Darcy joined in calling on the federal government to take action to ban bulk water exports. “We must protect water from being privatized and ensure that control remains in the public sector,” she said.