Public service job cuts, wage freeze on deck

Published in the Humber Et Cetera on October 8, 2012.

 

Future Humber College grads entering the public service sec

tor could be affected by more cutbacks in the upcoming months.

Provincial finance minister Dwight Duncan has announced proposed legislation on a wage freeze and various cutbacks in the public service sector, affecting nearly 500,000 jobs.

The declaration from the Liberal government came on Sept. 26.

credit Humber Health Services

OPSEU reaction

Don Ford, Ontario Public Service Employees Union communications officer, said that the Ontario government is pushing questionable legislation that takes away the bargaining rights of public service workers.

“We’re questioning the legality of the legislation,” he said. “The finance minister is [wondering] whether or not this will pass a constitutional challenge…[it] would stop the bargaining process.”
Teresa Armstrong, NDP Critic for Ontario Colleges and Universities, said that the bill is not yet tabled and is already raising concern.

“The bill is just a draft at this point,” Armstrong said. “The NDP is concerned that the current government will cause turmoil in areas like with [Bill 115].”

Ford said that the future of government jobs might be at stake.

“It seems any jobs in government appear to be the whipping post for cutbacks,” Ford said.

Legislation needs legality, says OPSEU

Warren Thomas, OPSEU President, said the legislation should have to be approved in court before it moves forward.

“Every citizen in Ontario, whether they belong to a union or not, should be extremely fearful of a government that would try to pass a law that they themselves admit to be unconstitutional,” Thomas said in a press release.

Future of graduating students in these times

While some are questioning the future of the public service sector, others think there is no risk for future job seekers.

Jason Powell, dean of Humber’s school of health sciences, said that the services Canadians know would always be around.

“We’ve got to be realists here,” Powell said. “When you go to the Emergency Room with a broken arm, there is going to be someone there to take care of you.”

“Of course there will be cuts and things need to be examined, but the services will remain,” he said.
Paramedic student at Humber Chris Smith said he is not concerned about the potential of getting a job.

“I came into this program knowing there will be competition for jobs,” Smith said. “There will always be a need for emergency services.”

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