The union that represents 4,000 workers who deliver vital public services to Peel-area residents expressed deep dismay and misgivings that the best qualified advocates for public services have not been given a seat on the transition board overseeing the dissolution of the Regional Municipality of Peel.
On Monday, the Conservative government released the names of five members that will steer the dissolution of Peel to make Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon independent municipalities by early 2025.
Under the management of the named board, CUPE Ontario fears that the dissolution of the region will lead to a drastic reduction in the quality and number of services to residents of Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon, as well as the loss of good jobs in those communities. When the transition board was announced earlier this year, CUPE Ontario sent an official correspondence to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing asking for a seat.
“Having union representation throughout the process of dissolution is paramount,” says Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “The people of Peel should be very worried about their services. This transition team, that will cost the people of Peel $800,000 for 19 months, is made of folks — none of whom are from the region of Peel, lawyers who advocate for privatization, and a retired police chief — it just shows how deeply out of touch the Ford Conservatives really are. Regardless of this very troubling challenge, CUPE Ontario will work with others to stand with our members who work and live in the Peel Region.”
The Dissolution of Peel is unprecedented in Ontario and the exact details of how Bill 112 will impact CUPE members in the region are currently unknown.
Salil Arya, president of CUPE 966, which represents 2,000 members employed by Peel Region, says that the provincial government could have included union representation on the dissolution board to ensure that services are maintained.
“There should not be any services and supports lost to the people of Peel – not one job loss,” Arya says. “Members of CUPE 966 are walking a fine line, and the government has not been transparent about how this process will work. We cannot let them steamroll through the vital services people depend on every day – nor union rights and the rights of workers.”
In a region where almost 70% of the population identifies as racialized people, CUPE Ontario is astonished that the transition board in no way reflects the reality of these communities. “This is just another reminder of what systemic racism looks like under the Ford Conservatives,” said Hahn.
“The union will continue to work with our allies to ensure that Peel residents and members will have access to quality public services. And it’s not too late — this Conservative government still has the power to include CUPE and community representatives. And no matter what they do, we will fight to preserve and build more public services for this growing and important part of our province.”
About CUPE in Peel Region
CUPE represents about 4,000 members employed by the Region of Peel and the lower-tier municipalities who provide a broad range of services including long-term care, accessible transit, public health, human services, public works and infrastructure.