Image shows Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, standing at a microphone outdoors, with people masked around him, holding a banner that reads "Health Care Is a Human Right"

On this Labour Day, when we are called to celebrate the contributions of workers while recommitting to improving the working conditions communities count on, it’s clear that candidates are being confronted by the question of how to support the workers that have supported us all.

They’re discovering that the key issues are the ones workers and labour organizations have been pushing to the forefront: safety in the face of yet another preventable wave; job security and a dignified standard of living; access to affordable child care; pharmacare and dental care for everyone; a real affordable housing strategy; addressing the climate emergency; fighting the rising tide of racism and discrimination; and reducing the cost of living.

Some are giving the right answer while others are working hard to change nothing, to keep the status quo intact.

But the issues, during this historic election, are workers’ issues. And Doug Ford should pay close attention because he’ll be facing these questions in June during the Ontario election.

Along with questions, he’ll be facing a truth that so many more people have accepted these last 18 months: that public services save lives.

It’s the simple truth that the pandemic only revealed how years of underfunding and neglect stretched public services to everyone’s detriment.

But it’s also a truth that led to a new and a renewed appreciation for the contributions of front-line workers.

One that only reminded us of the need to retake control of our public resources for the benefit of the public services that keep people safe and communities healthy.

Today, more than ever, one final truth is that Ontarians will absolutely continue to push the Ford Conservatives to pay attention this Labour Day — and choose the kind of politics people really need.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Hamilton Spectator, written by Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario.