Image shows Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, takes a selfie with Amanda and Henri Giroux, Tuesday, at a rally outside the Northern Ontario Leaders Debate.
Janice Folk-Dawson was “outraged” when she learned the Northern Ontario Leaders Debate held in North Bay Tuesday was charging $125 a head to attend.

“This is the democratic process,” the executive vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Labour told about 60 people gathered half a block from the Capitol Centre before the leaders of the four major political parties entered the building for the debate.

“The debate should have been an opportunity for all people” to attend, listen to Conservative Leader Doug Ford, Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca, New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner and possibly pose questions.

The last two-and-a-half years, Folk-Dawson said, have been “a deadly and dangerous time for workers” in the province. There were 319 workplace fatalities in 2021, she said, and there have been more than a dozen so far in 2022.

The provincial government and employers, she said, are responsible for those deaths, due to a lack of enforcement of workplace safety regulations and “putting profit over people.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has just made things worse, she said. Personal protective equipment, she said, is not available for many of the workers in long-term care homes and other care facilities, and the provincial government is “doing nothing to investigate workplace tragedies.”

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