CUPE Ontario is calling on the provincial government to fund municipalities during the pandemic in order to keep staff working and on the payroll.

“Municipal services matter, now more than ever - and many municipal governments are doing the right thing by keeping workers on staff,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, which represents close to 80,000 municipal workers in the province. “As this crisis unfolds, we need that to continue. Communities need the provincial government to send a clear and strong message to all public sector employers that now’s the time communities need public services, not layoffs.”  

To secure the delivery of critical public services, the union proposes that the provincial government provide municipalities with funding. The province should also evaluate legislation that puts municipalities in a box in a time of crisis by prohibiting them having a deficit budget, according to CUPE Ontario.

“These workers are part of their communities and they want to contribute,” said Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer, suggesting that redeployment, upon consultation with the union, is the best option. “The province just needs to put up the funds and finally examine archaic rules that leave municipalities without the tools they desperately need today.”

“We can’t leave anyone behind while we get through this,” said Hahn. “It’s time for the provincial government to send the message to Ontarians that they will support our communities with concrete actions when we need them most.”