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CUPE members take action on pensions and Pharmacare

Today, more than 40 CUPE members from across the country met with Members of Parliament to support the creation of a national Pharmacare program and to discuss retirement security and pensions.

CUPE members, alongside 350 activists from the Canadian Labour Congress, participated in a lobby day in Ottawa.

The group met with over 192 parliamentarians throughout the day to support the creation of a Pharmacare program that provides coverage for all residents regardless of their income, age, or where they live. Any Pharmacare program must be patient-centred, integrated with our health system, and sustainable.

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Proposed Ontario health agency set to de-stabilize public healthcare

TORONTOFeb. 26, 2019 /CNW/ – Ontario’s largest union in the private sector expresses deep concern for the proposed amalgamation of healthcare oversight and delivery into an unaccountable partisan agency.

“First, Minister Elliot claimed that this bill didn’t exist. Now, this secret agency is just as damning in the light of day as it was when public sector whistle-blowers first released it,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. “Workers see this agency for what it is: an attempt to bring in privatization through the backdoor and reward the Conservatives’ corporate friends.”

If adopted, the bill will shift decisions about more than $60 billion of Ontario’s public spending and healthcare delivery to a small board of unelected, partisan appointees.

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Are Ford’s education changes really for the students?

Is this really what we have all been asking for? Us, the post-secondary students of Ontario. Set to come into effect September 2019, tuition fees for post-secondary education will be cut by a staggering 10 per cent.

The motion to cut tuition fees was announced by Premier Doug Ford on Jan. 17. It has been a long-anticipated cut for students across Ontario as undergraduate full-time tuition continues to outpace inflation. It is not a surprise most graduating students have a debt of approximately $28,000 upon completion of their undergraduate studies. This tuition fee cut introduced by the Ford government sounds like the perfect idea: it would save the average post-secondary university student approximately $660 a year. But is this tuition cut really all that great?

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Students with ADHD less likely to enrol in post-secondary education, study says

OTTAWA — Students with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are much less likely to go to college or university than those with no long-term health conditions, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.

The gap suggests teachers need better training in how to work with students whose behaviour can come off as disruptive and who might seem uninterested in their studies, advocates say.

“They are going to have one to three kids with ADHD in every class they teach for the rest of their career, and this is just regular classrooms, yet we’re not training them,” said Heidi Bernhardt, the executive director of the Centre for ADHD Awareness.

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Corridor in a no longer exists nursing home in Magdeburg
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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.