CLAC Supports Budget Measures and Identifies Key Priorities for 2018 Ontario Budget
Kitchener, ON—CLAC presented its 2018 budget recommendations to Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa, as well as the honourable Daiene Vernile (minister of tourism, culture and sport), and the honourable Kathryn McGarry (minister of transportation) on February 6, 2018, at a pre-budget consultation meeting in Kitchener.
On behalf of its 15,000 Ontario members, CLAC highlighted three priorities: funding for long term care, fair and open tendering, and pension reforms to allow defined contribution pension administrators to issue variable benefits.
“CLAC’s budget priorities this year are things that will make our workplaces fairer, safer, and stronger for our members and for all Ontario workers,” says Ian DeWaard, CLAC Ontario provincial director. “Our members need to see important changes come through in this year’s budget to relieve the pressure in long term care and to open up public construction to all qualified workers. Our members also want changes to see changes that will help them keep more of their hard earned pension income—changes the province has been promising for years.”
When making specific requests for long term care, CLAC pointed to recommendations in its recent Patients First paper, as well the response to the government’s Ageing with Confidence report. CLAC applauded the additional hours for staffing committed to by the government late last year and urged them to dedicate the new resources to front-line hands-on care.
With respect to tendering, CLAC advocates for fairness for all workers in Ontario. As a consequence of provincial labour legislation, some municipalities are forced to restrict who can work on publicly funded construction projects. This means that many workers cannot work on projects in their own communities, including the soon-to-be-built transit hub in Kitchener, because they don’t hold membership in the right union.
“CLAC members believe that all qualified contractors and workers should be eligible to compete for public work,” says DeWaard. “Our head office is in Waterloo Region and many of our members call this area home. They want to be able to help build their community and don’t want to see public money wasted on projects because of an unfair monopoly situation.”
CLAC drew on statistics from a recently released paper by University of Toronto professor Dr. Morley Gundersen and Brian Dijkema of Cardus, which found that the Region is currently paying 8-30 percent more for most construction work due to restricted tendering.