Ontario workers rally against Ford’s corruption, closures and cost-of-living crisis

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario, Feb. 03, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hundreds of trade union and community members, including health care and education workers, joined a rally organized by the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) during the Ontario PC Party’s 2024 policy convention in Niagara Falls on Saturday.

The rally highlighted the Ford government’s record of corruption, closures, and cost-of-living crisis, and featured labour and community speakers from the Niagara Region and across Ontario.

“If ever there was a ‘best-before’ date for governments, this one is well past it,” said Jackie Taylor, Executive Vice-President of the OFL. “Almost six years after Ford’s election, life in Ontario is harder and more expensive for workers and their families.”

Rally speakers condemned Ford’s privatization agenda and its devastating impact on public services, especially health care.

“Ford has no idea just how angry our community is about his cuts to health care in Niagara,” said Heather Kelley, Chairperson of the Save Fort Erie Hospital SOS campaign. “Rural health care matters, it stands between life and death. And we’re not backing down till we save our hospital.”

Chris Byford, President of Local 846 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), quoted 19th-century Black American abolitionist and civil rights leader, Frederick Douglass, as he called on the rally to join the movement for a better Ontario: “‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.’ It won’t be easy to defeat Ford’s agenda, but it’s worth the fight.”

Public and private sector unions alike organized contingents for the rally, and were joined by a range of community campaigns, such as the Niagara Health Coalition, the Ontario Autism Coalition, and the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups.

Ahmad Gaied, OFL Secretary-Treasurer, announced that the labour movement would host a province-wide day of action on June 1, 2024 in support of injured and ill workers, among other initiatives.

“When we fight Ford’s agenda, we do it together–with seniors and students, injured workers and their families, community members and allies,” said Gaied. “And we’re just getting started. In every part of the province, we need to build a united movement that wins a better Ontario for all of us.”

Photos and videos of the rally are available on the OFL’s social media.

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. It is the largest provincial labour federation in Canada. Visit OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

For more information, please contact:

Jenny Sellathurai
Interim Director of Communications
Ontario Federation of Labour
jsellathurai@ofl.ca | 416-894-3456