TORONTO – Vague promises to stop privatizing
government services will do little to provide certainty to the
people of Ontario or those who provide front-line services, says
the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
In reaction to the June 4 Toronto Star article
“Premier drops privatization,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey)
Thomas says that the government’s actions bear little
resemblance to the words of the unnamed Queen’s Park sources
quoted in the story.
“The McGuinty Liberals are still moving full
steam ahead on the privatization of ServiceOntario, and still
plan to de-regulate government oversight,” says Thomas. “Both of
these measures will accomplish little more than setting up the
people of Ontario for another fiasco that will make the Ornge
scandal pale by comparison.”
ServiceOntario generates $2.7 billion in
revenues but only costs $270 million to operate, a 10-to-1
return on investment. This must count as one of the most
short-sighted and potentially dangerous decisions a government
has ever made, the union says. McGuinty is willing to risk the
privacy and security of Ontarians’ personal information.
Annually, 48 million transactions are done through
ServiceOntario, including the delivery of driver’s licenses,
health cards and birth certificates.
“There is absolutely no upside to this move for
anyone other than corporations who want to profit from taxpayer
dollars,” Thomas said. “Yet the government is still moving ahead
with a plan that will lose money and put the security of private
information at risk. We have to ask who is pulling the Premier’s
Thomas demands that government immediate put a
stop to the fire sale of ServiceOntario and withdraw the
legislation that allows it to take place.
“McGuinty must match his actions with the words
of his government officials,” Thomas said. “Until then, the
report in the Toronto Star is nothing more than a smoke screen
to appease the NDP and get the budget passed.”