Mike Bellerose, president of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4705, has called for Northern Ontario's residents to apply pressure to the provincial government of Doug Ford which has notified Ontario Library Services-North that their budget would be slashed by 50% following the tabling of the provincial budget on April 11th.
CUPE 4705, which represents employees in the Ontario Library Services-North (OLS-North) says that 5 out of 11 full time employees have been issued lay-off notices and a sixth has been re-classed from full time to part time status.
OLS-North, as well as its counterpart Southern Ontario Library Services (SOLS) provide support services to public libraries across the province such as inter-library services, staff training, and book delivery. These cuts mean that services at public libraries can be seriously disrupted, especially in rural, poor, and Indigenous communities.
This call by Bellerose to put pressure on the Ford government comes amidst a larger push across Ontario to resist policy changes and budget cuts that have been the result of the proposed 2019 budget. Activists' call for a "general strike" for May Day (May 1st) that has already spread to 22 cities across the province. While this call is coming from outside of traditional labor movement channels, 3,300 people had responded to the Facebook even as attending and another 14,000 had responded as interested according to an article from kawarthaNOW on April 27th.