The Ontario Federation of Labour has launched its "Power of Many" campaign of resistance to the Ontario government’s pro-business agenda of cuts and privatization. Union members and community activists from all sectors and all parts of Ontario gathered on March 25 for the OFL's Take Back Ontario conference.


“Ontarians and the labour movement have had enough of this government’s heartless attack on the most vulnerable people in this province,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “What you see here today is a unified movement. The people of Ontario are organized, we are the majority, we are resisting, and we will win.”


The OFL is connecting labour and community activists through Rapid Response Networks (RRNs), which will deliver solidarity actions in response to damaging PC policies. Ontarians can sign up to participate at powerofmany.ca.


“We will not be silent while this government’s cuts continue,” said OFL Secretary-Treasurer Patty Coates. “This government is moving fast to gut the services that every person in this province depends on, but by working together in solidarity, the people of this province will stop this government in their tracks.”


“Ford’s cuts hurt all of us from schoolchildren to seniors,” said OFL Executive Vice-President Ahmad Gaied. “Ontario has come together to say this: we will fight for public services, for decent work, for equality and justice, as well as safe and healthy workplaces and communities.”


PC government cuts and privatizations have weakened and removed workplace and environmental protections, cancelled important programs, instituted a hiring freeze in the public service, cut funding to key public services like education and social service supports, and moved toward merging, closing, and privatizing health care delivery services.


As an example, Buckley says that "by passing Bill 66, the government is showing its disdain for the workers of Ontario... Bill 66 is going to cost Ontario workers by reducing the overtime hours they’re paid for, at the same time as it compromises health and safety. Longer hours for less pay with fewer safety protections. That’s no good for workers and it’s no good for Ontario.”


Under Bill 66, businesses in Ontario can now use overtime averaging to pay workers for fewer of their overtime hours. The law also allows reduced reporting of toxic substances in workplaces and communities, and deems public entities as ‘non-construction employers’, opening the door for non-union companies in the construction trades to bid on and build public infrastructure projects. It also stops requiring the employer to post the Employment Standards Act in the workplace.


The Federation is organizing protests on April 17 to oppose the Ford government's anti-working class attacks. For details, visit http://ofl.ca/events/


(The above article is from the April 16-30, 2019, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)