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OFL Welcomes Throne Speech Overtures to Labour but is Eager for Action

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/19/13 -- Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan today welcomed a positive and constructive message from the first throne speech of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, but workers are eager for action.

"Today's throne speech struck the rights notes, but words must be put into action," said OFL President Sid Ryan. "Premier Wynne's emphasis on good jobs, public services and respect for workers was welcome news after McGuinty's aggressive approach threw the province into turmoil, but the budget process is where the rubber hits the road. Ontario's workers won't be convinced of her sincerity until we see progressive words turned into concrete legislation."

Today's throne speech announced her government's intent to chart a new course for Ontario by addressing public concerns about inequality and establishing a new relationship with the province's workers based on fairness and respectful.

"Wynne has signaled her desire to reach out to organized labour, but workers have been waiting for twenty years for labour law reform that makes it easier to join a union," said Ryan. "Wynne must also abandon her government's plans to take away the impartiality in labour arbitrations or she will open up with another major rupture with labour that no one wants to see. Today her throne speech pledged to honour fair and transparent interest arbitration and we will hold her to that promise."

Cuts to social programs have hurt Ontario families and created the widest gap in inequality that this country has ever seen. According to recent reports, more than 40 percent of Ontarians - including over 600,000 families with children - have seen their wages stagnate or decline over the last decade. Meanwhile, Ontario's social programs, from hospitals to schools to universities - continue to receive the lowest funding of any province in Canada.

"Today Wynne admitted that austerity isn't enough to help Ontarians reach their true potential," said Ryan. "We need her to take it step further by tackling inequality in a meaningful way, creating new jobs, bringing in fair taxation for banks and corporations and championing an economic recovery that includes everyone."

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour and follow OFL President Sid Ryan at @SidRyan_OFL.

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