Ontario layoffs threaten public safety, says environmental watchdog, Earthroots

Media Release

Toronto – Earthroots, an Ontario based environmental organization, harshly condemned yesterday’s layoff of provincial employees.  Yesterday 274 public sector workers in the province were laid off in the first wave of what the Ontario Public Services Employee Union expects to be 1,900 job cuts between now and next March.  Among the laid off workers are 57 people with technical expertise in water safety and air quality at the environment ministry.

“Cutting workers who safeguard our air quality and water safety is a scary and dangerously short sighted move,” said Josh Garfinkel, Senior Campaigner at Earthroots.  “The hard working people at the Ministry of the Environment are already stretched too thin trying to monitor thousands of potential impacts to our water from well financed and well lawyered industries.”

“Cutting this essential work takes us a dangerous step backwards towards the days of the Walkerton crisis when inadequate monitoring cost the lives of some Ontarians, and sickened hundreds.  How many lives must be lost before we learn to value our clean water?”, added Garfinkel.

Earthroots played a key role in helping to pass provincial legislation including the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, which helps to protect the source of most GTA rivers and the direct source of drinking water for over 250,000 people.  Since last fall Earthroots has been calling on the province to develop a Provincial Water Strategy.  The organization also supports northern First Nations who are taking action to protect their home watersheds and drinking water sources from industrial contamination.

“Far too many communities in Ontario are forced to suffer from the impacts of contaminated water sources,” said David Sone, Earthroots Campaigner.  “This decision takes us further from respecting the right of all people to access safe drinking water.  One can only imagine how many people will suffer from the loss of critical services if these ill considered cuts are allowed to proceed.”

Contact

Josh Garfinkel, Earthroots Senior Campaigner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 416-599-0152 ext. 15 (cell 416-562-3894)

David Sone, Earthroots Forest Campaigner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 416-599-0152 ext. 13