CUPE Ontario has launched a campaign to shine a light on the link between the current crisis in the province’s public services and the years-long history of wage suppression for frontline workers in Ontario’s public sector.

The “Workers Are Worth It” campaign kicked off last week with a series of online advertisements and a website,, complete with myth-busting facts about public sector wages, related news stories, and an e-petition letter with four demands for the Ford government: fund ministry budgets to provide real wage increases for frontline workers; provide incentives to encourage workers to stay or join the public sector workforce; stop all interference in public sector workers’ right to bargain fair wage increases; and abandon the appeal of the court’s decision on Bill 124.

“Our campaign is about improving Ontario’s public services by demanding better for the people who deliver them,” said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn. “Public sector workers were Ontario’s heroes throughout the pandemic, yet public sector workers are still underpaid and undervalued, and are struggling to get by in a time of high inflation.

“Their plight is having a direct impact on the levels of service that Ontarians rely on. Wait times, wait lists and program cancellations are just some of the consequences of workers quitting jobs they love because their wages are too low, and of employers not being able recruit and retain staff for the same reason.”

Ontario has tens of thousands of jobs going begging in hospitals, child care centres, long-term care, home care and other public sector workplaces, but no plan to grow and stabilize the workforces that deliver these vital services.

“It’s no mystery: better wages will help attract and keep workers in critical jobs and Ontarians will benefit through better quality services,” said CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Yolanda McClean. “Our Workers Are Worth It campaign delivers the message that investing in public services is an investment in Ontario. We are convinced that it’s a campaign that will engage both CUPE Ontario members and the public.”

Over the past year, CUPE Ontario has seen an increasing number of CUPE locals taking job action in support of demands for wage increases that keep up with inflation and the union expects this trend to continue.

“We know that public sector workers deserve better, and so do Ontarians. Workers Are Worth It will make the connections that show us how to get there,” said McClean.