On September 15th, 2015, KPMG presented a report to Regional Council as part of its Service Review. One of KPMG’s five main recommendations was that the Region of Waterloo cancel its Employment Ontario (EO) services as of March 31, 2016 by not renewing its contract with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU).
MTCU provides funding for the EO program which provides job seekers resume writing, interview preparation, job placement, second career training, and other employment supports. KPMG says there will be minimal impact if the Region discontinues its EO service because other community agencies provide similar services. Not renewing the contract will save the Region $384,000 annually.
This recommendation, however, will have a negative effect on some of the most vulnerable members in our community – people who rely on Ontario Works (OW) for their income. Well over half of the people who use EO services through the Region are OW participants. The Regional staff who provide the services – members of CUPE 1883 – are experienced employment counsellors and job developers who understand the OW system and work with other Regional staff in Housing, Public Health, Childcare, and more. This kind of service is not possible in community agencies, where staff have less experience and do not have the internal connections with other programs run by the Region.
If the Regional Council chooses to not renew the EO service contract with MTCU, OW participants and other community members will lose a program that has been delivered by high quality, invested staff whose employment and training outcomes for their participants have been very successful. The staff have built strong, trusting relationships with local businesses who value the Region’s EO program.
Please stand up for the Region’s most vulnerable members and tell Regional Council not to let OW recipients fall through the cracks that will occur when they are referred out to other programs. Tell them you do not want to see the Region lay off 11 unionized staff who make good pay and benefits, only to have the same programs run by people paid less to do the same job in a community agency.
For a full list of Regional Councillors and their phone numbers and email addresses, click here.
- KPMG report (staff report on page 13, KPMG report on page 47)
- Submission to Regional Council by Jill Smyth, National Representative, CUPE 1883
- Success stories of people using the Region’s EO services
- Testimonials from employers who have used the Region’s EO services
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