FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nancy Brown, Executive Director of Community Living Campbellford/Brighton (CLCB) was proud to be in attendance at the passing of the second reading of Bill 83 – Protecting Vulnerable People Against Picketing on Thursday Oct 28, 2010. Nancy and 11 others from CLCB were part of a contingency of over 80 people from Community Living organizations from across the province that attended the day at Queens Park.
TORONTO, October 28, 2010 – Members of the Respect Our Homes Coalition and Community Living Ontario are very encouraged that Bill 83 – Protecting Vulnerable People Against Picketing Act – passed second reading at Queen’s Park today.
“The proposed legislation could make the difference between people who have an intellectual disability living a peaceful life in typical neighbourhoods or living a life of fear and shame,” said Kimberley Gavan, director of community development at Community Living Ontario.
In 2007 nearly 2,000 people were affected when staff from seven agencies went on strike and picketed at homes where people live. In 2009, staff at another agency hit the picket lines, once again in front of people’s homes. In 2011, it is estimated that staff from at least another 50 agencies could go on strike.
“The traditional labour dispute model is based on a manufacturing economy. The rules of engagement when it comes to picketing work for striking auto and steel mill workers,” Gavan said. “But they don’t work when we are talking about services that involve people’s lives. They don’t work when people with disabilities are left in vulnerable situations over which they have no control,” she added
At a media conference held earlier today, Melissa Abrams, Chair of The Council, a self-advocacy advisory body outlined shocking details of what has happened when striking workers picketed at people’s homes including:
– shining a laser light in windows, knowing the people who live in the home have seizures;
– putting people’s lives at risk by delaying medication being delivered to them;
– yelling over bullhorns and calling people who live in the homes ‘Scabs’;
– setting up port-a-potties in front of people’s homes and clearly not caring how neighbors felt about the port-a-potties in front of their homes.
“We’re encouraged by the legislature’s acknowledgement that picketing is just plain wrong,” said Gavan.
Kory Earle, president of People First of Ontario, an autonomous self-advocacy group stated, “We believe in the union’s right to strike. What we don’t believe in is picketing at people’s homes. People who have an intellectual disability and who are supported by an agency should not be caught in the middle. We should not be caught in the crossfire of a labour dispute. It’s just plain wrong.”
Bill 83 is expected to go to committee for discussion and be brought back for third reading, but as to when is still unknown. Timing is critical as more than 50 collective agreements are set to expire in the spring of 2011,
FOR INTERVIEWS OR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Rozalyn Werner-Arcé, Director of Marketing and Communications
Community Living Ontario
Office: 416-447-4348 ext. 235 Cell: 416-407-4014
Community Living Ontario is a province-wide federation that promotes and facilitates the full participation and inclusion of people who have an intellectual disability. More than 12,000 people are members of Community Living Ontario through membership in 117 affiliated local associations. Community Living provides direct support and services to people who have an intellectual disability, helps communities build the capacity to support people, and advocates for social change toward the full inclusion of all people in community.
Click here for a PDF File of the above article- Bill 83-Second Reading