OPSEU members in northwestern Ontario are hitting the road to fight for more autism and special services, and will be visiting all of Progressive Conservative MPP Greg Rickford's constituency offices throughout northwestern Ontario this week.
The group will be at Rickford's Fort Frances constituency office, located at 279 Scott St. tomorrow at 1 p.m.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says this kind of action is exactly what the union must do to push back against the Ford government's destructive agenda.
“We're finding it's very effective to show up at Conservative constituency offices,” said Thomas.
“The Conservative MPPs have turned Queen's Park into a bunker where they can try to avoid us, but sooner or later they have to come back to their ridings—they can run, but they can't hide,” he added.
Ed Arvelin, a member of OPSEU's Executive Board from northwestern Ontario said the government didn't consult anyone about the funding changes.
“How can the Ford government make sweeping changes to the Ontario Autism Program without consulting the very people who will be directly affected?” he asked.
“There is already a shortage of public services and frontline autism workers in northwestern Ontario and many families have to travel long distances to get their children the services they need,” said Sharon Bak, president of the Thunder Bay Family Network.
“We can't do more with less,” she added.
OPSEU members want to meet with Rickford and have him petition the Ford government on behalf of the constituents he represents for increased funding for autism and other special services for children in northwestern Ontario.
They will also be fundraising for the Thunder Bay Family Network, which is a non-profit organization offering support, networking and resources to families.