NDP Calls on Wynne Government to Resolve CUPE 2049 Lockout

Miss Monique Taylor: My question is to the Minister of Children and Youth Services. On December 23, two days before Christmas, the management at Nipissing and Parry Sound Children’s Aid Society locked out their workers. Those workers are still locked out. For the past eight weeks, vulnerable children and families have been at an increased risk in their absence.

This is becoming a pattern, Minister. The lack of funding for child protection, coupled with the CAS management digging in its heels, is putting children at risk. Will the minister act to get a resolution to this situation and ensure that children and families get the services they need?

Hon. Michael Coteau: I would like to thank the member for the question. I want to start off by saying that the safety of children, youth and families here in the province of Ontario is something we are always concerned with—in fact, all the members in this Legislature are concerned with. I had the opportunity to meet with the men and women from the Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS earlier today and to listen to some of their concerns. I just want to say thank you for the work you do, because you’re the men and women who are making a huge difference for families here in the province of Ontario.

This government has always been committed to making sure that young people in the province of Ontario are set up for success. In fact, earlier today, I spent almost 40 minutes speaking about our new piece of legislation for child protection here in the province of Ontario. I do believe that it’s something that we believe is necessary for change, and it’s something that I believe is going to help position the sector for more success in the future.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Miss Monique Taylor: The minister is right: When he spoke to Bill 89 this morning, he recognized the responsibility that he has to vulnerable children. But he can’t look the other way when those children are not getting the services that they need. There are reports that a ministry audit has shown mismanagement of funds at this society. If this is the case, children and families should not be paying the price for that, and neither should these workers.

What does the minister plan to do to ensure that these workers get back to the work that we need them to do and, more importantly, that vulnerable families and children need you to do?