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Workers at Peel’s Butterfly dementia care project report they are physically and mentally exhausted

With Peel Region expanding its “Butterfly” dementia care project to two more long-term care homes, direct care staff working on the Malton Village pilot site are speaking out publicly for the first time about the challenges they’ve faced to make the experiment a success.

“There is widespread commitment among care staff to improve the quality of life for residents with dementia and make the Butterfly expansion work,” says Salil Arya, president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 966 which represents about 800 long-term care staff employed at four Peel Region homes.

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Removing caps on class sizes is a failure of both education and economics

It’s hard not to be outraged by Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson’s recent announcement that her government is considering removing the caps on the class size of kindergarten and primary grades.

Anyone who teaches or has children in a primary school understands the critical importance of the teacher-to-student ratio and many will contend that they are already way too high. The current cap on kindergarten classes in Ontario is 29 kids; for primary (Grades 1 to 3), it’s 23.

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‘Nothing ever stays the same’: Minister defends tuition, student fee, OSAP changes

Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities defended changes to post-secondary education on Monday, saying recently announced decisions are all about the making the system more affordable.

In an interview with CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, Merrilee Fullerton said the province cares about students but wants schools to remain accessible, students to have “freedom of choice” in what they fund and financial help to go to those most in need.

The changes, announced last Thursday, have upset many university and college students.

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Statement from Mark Hancock and Charles Fleury on the January 11 bus crash in Ottawa

The entire CUPE family is sending out its thoughts and sympathies for the victims of Friday’s tragic bus crash in Ottawa which took the lives of three people and injured dozens more. In particular, we are thinking of Bruce Thomlinson, Judy Booth, and Anja Van Beek, the three public service workers who were killed in the collision, as well as their families and loved ones.

We want to express our gratitude to all those who bravely responded to this tragic event as it unfolded, including paramedics in CUPE Local 503, transit police and supervisors in CUPE Local 5500, and hospital workers in CUPE Local 4000. Their efforts in this time of crisis comforted the afflicted and helped prevent this heartbreaking event from worsening any further.

We also send our best wishes for a fast recovery to those injured in the crash, and to the broader Ottawa community in this moment of grief and bereavement. Let us come together and comfort each other through this difficult period.

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CUPE supports reconciliation in Wet’suwet’en Territory and across Canada

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is offering solidarity and support to the people of the Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia.

CUPE is relieved that the police standoff has been averted for the time being, and hopeful that the federal government will recognize that it is long past time for real action when it comes to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

“Canadians were shocked to see the aggressive action of heavily armed police at the Unist’ot’en camp as they removed peaceful protestors and blocked access to journalists,” says Mark Hancock, national president of CUPE. “We would never accept this kind of behaviour towards striking workers on a picket line. Protest is a fundamental right, and the Wet’suwet’en people have a right to protect their unceded territory.”

The five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have never signed a treaty with Canada and have never ceded their territory in central British Columbia. For almost a decade, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have maintained several checkpoints and camps to halt any development in their territories from proceeding without their consent. Last week, heavily armed police began dismantling these checkpoints, and forcefully removed peaceful land defenders.

“If the Prime Minister and his government are truly committed to reconciliation, to the UN Declaration, and to building a better relationship with Indigenous peoples, the time and place to prove it is right here and right now,” says Charles Fleury, national secretary-treasurer of CUPE.

Peace, Justice and Solidarity

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As 2018 comes to a close, we are sending our warmest greetings and our most sincere thanks to all CUPE members.

We have much to celebrate this year. CUPE locals have won victories for our members at the bargaining table, our activists have helped elect progressive politicians, and our union has led the fight for fairness and respect in our workplaces and in our communities.

The year has also had its challenges. Perhaps most significantly, we have seen the growth of right-wing rhetoric, and increasing intolerance and hatred, across Canada and indeed around the world.

But we have also seen our union, and our allies, rise to the occasion. CUPE members continue to stand up for their rights, for diversity, for inclusion, for equality. As a union, with over 665,000 members, we have never been stronger. We are strong because of activists and leaders like you.

In the spirit of peace, justice, and solidarity, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and very best for 2019.

In solidarity,

Mark Hancock – National President
Charles Fleury – National Secretary/Treasurer

Stop Workplace Sexual Violence

CUPE is committed to addressing and preventing sexual violence at work and recognizes that everyone has a right to work in a safe environment.

Sexual violence is any act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender expression or gender identity that is committed, attempted or threatened against a person without their consent. Sexual violence includes harassment, which is offensive behaviour that a reasonable person would consider unwelcome.

Sexual violence at work is a serious matter and has an impact on all members of the workplace and the union. The employer is responsible for addressing and responding to workplace sexual violence. The union plays a critical role in making sure the employer meets their responsibilities.

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CUPE sends solidarity and sympathies to Oshawa auto workers

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is sending solidarity and sympathies to the workers and families impacted by GM’s decision to shutter its plant in Oshawa.

“This decision is devastating for the workers, their families, and so many communities around Oshawa and the Durham region who have built General Motors into what it is today,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock.

“Oshawa auto workers are going to put up the fight of their lives to save their jobs and their communities, and CUPE will be there to support them,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury.

Hancock says the federal government must step up immediately to support workers and their families, and demand accountability from GM. “A decade ago, Canadian taxpayers stepped in with billions of dollars to save GM,” Hancock noted. “GM can’t just take a bailout and run a few years later. The government of Canada owes it to Oshawa and to all Canadians to demand accountability from GM.”