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TORONTO, ON – CUPE Ontario will celebrate major accomplishments in the LGBTQ rights movement at Saturday’s Pride Parade in Peterborough while also raising concerns about the erosion of basic rights in light of the Liberal government’s recent attack on the Charter rights of education workers, says Candace Rennick, Secretary Treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

“It is great to be with our Locals in Peterborough celebrating Pride,” says Rennick. “There is a lot to celebrate including this year’s all-party passage of Toby’s Act and the passage of the Accepting Schools Act.  However, we’ve also recently seen the provincial government strip hundreds of thousands of education workers of their Charter rights. This should concern all Ontarians who care about defending and expanding basic rights.”

The Ontario Liberal government, supported by Tim Hudak’s Conservatives, passed Bill 115 on September 11th, taking away the right to free collective bargaining for workers in the education sector.  CUPE, which represents 55,000 school board support workers affected by the legislation, announced that same day it has retained Andrew Lokan, from the firm Paliare Roland, and instructed him to begin legal proceedings challenging the bill’s constitutionality.

“We’re not just proud to be here today, celebrating with Peterborough’s LGBTQ community. Every day, CUPE members are taking the lead in showing pride in the vital services they perform on behalf of all residents” said Lynda Bolton, President of CUPE Local 126, which represents City of Peterborough Inside Workers.

“Pride Parades originated as a political demonstration – a show of strength and solidarity as well as a demand for equality. These are values CUPE Ontario members believe in strongly,” says Rennick. “I’m incredibly proud CUPE members across Ontario are standing up for LGBTQ rights in our communities and advancing equality in our own union by creating a new LGBTQ position on our provincial executive.”

At their convention in May, CUPE Ontario members voted to create a new position on their provincial executive, a Diversity Vice-President, LGBTQ. CUPE Ontario is the first union in Canada to create a dedicated LGBTQ executive position.

WHO:    CUPE Ontario Secretary Treasurer Candace Rennick

            and Lynda Bolton, President of CUPE Local 126

WHAT:   10th Annual Peterborough PRIDE Celebrations

WHERE: Peterborough City Hall, 500 George St. N.

            with activities starting at 1:30pm

            (including Mayor’s Proclamation and flag raising).

            Parade starts at 2pm

WHEN:   Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 1:30pm

CUPE Ontario is the province’s largest union. It represents more than 230,000 workers in five main sectors: health care, school boards, municipalities, social services and universities.


For more information, contact:

Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer, 705-768-2288

Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316