Additional resolutions aim to support CUPE’s lead child care coalition partner, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) and prioritize first-hand member stories in a comprehensive public awareness campaign.
Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, Chair of Ontario’s Social Service Workers’ Coordinating Committee (SSWCC), encouraged convention delegates to support Resolution No. 5 that calls on CUPE Ontario to develop a robust public awareness campaign that prioritizes first-hand stories of CUPE members who provide vital public services. “We know that deep cuts to social services are coming,” said Cotnam. “I want to hear and read about their stories—stories of triumph, hardship, perseverance, passion, and how they’re working to make Ontario a more just and equitable place for everyone.” Cotnam concluded her remarks by reflecting on the importance of first-person narrative in securing important protections, recognition, and ultimately, social change for workers everywhere.
Speaking to Resolution No. 14—that advocates for a proper response system to potential emergencies, including pandemics—CUPE Ontario Member-at-Large and frontline developmental service worker, Brittany Nisbet, highlighted the challenges that developmental service workers face in their work, particularly in the early days of the pandemic. Agencies encouraged staff to re-use face masks and use rain ponchos in-lieu of adequate PPE stockpiles while workers provided crucial services to adults with developmental disabilities, often in close quarters. Delegates overwhelmingly endorsed the resolution calling for adequate PPE be provided to all workers based on the precautionary principle.
Delegates sounded their resounding support for CUPE Ontario’s continued partnership with the OCBCC and joint work on the “Rising Up for Child Care” campaign. Delegates emphasised the important role and reach that OCBCC has in advocating for and securing important gains for the sector, importantly, for its predominately female and racialized workforce. Delegated noted the province’s abject failure in rising up for child care—under the provincial government’s failed leadership during the pandemic, approximately 58 child care centres have permanently closed and workers were left vulnerable to COVID-19 due to inadequate health and safety guidelines and vaccine prioritization.
The approval of Resolution No. 45 came after a rallying call for CUPE Ontario to create encompassing policy and practices to address sexualized violence and harassment in the union. Together, Candance Rennick, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer; Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, SSWCC Chair; and Tiffany Balducci, CUPE Ontario’s Fourth Vice-President; and other delegates outlined the foundational gaps in internal processes to support survivors of sexualized violence and the systemic issues that prevent, and actively suppress, women from participating in the union.