Bell petitions Trudeau government to overrule CRTC on wholesale network rates

Telecom company Bell Canada is asking the federal government to overrule the CRTC’s decision to slash wholesale rates. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada has asked the federal cabinet to prevent the country’s telecommunications regulator from slashing the wholesale rates that large carriers charge smaller rivals for access to their broadband networks.

Among other things, Bell is asking the federal government to restore wholesale rates for high-speed access that had been in place prior to a decision issued in August by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The company also wants the government to overrule the CRTC’s decision to make the lower wholesale rates retroactive to 2016, potentially forcing Bell and other carriers to repay hundreds of millions of dollars to Canada’s independent internet providers.

Bell — the country’s largest phone company — and most of Canada’s large cable companies have already challenged the CRTC at the Federal Court of Appeal, which issued a temporary stay on the CRTC decisions in September.

Negative consequences

The large companies have warned there will be serious negative consequences if network owners aren’t able to charge a higher wholesale price to smaller internet service providers.

“The commission failed to heed this warning,” BCE said in a 37-page petition filed with the government Wednesday.

“The incentive to invest in facilities capable of achieving a nearly 200-fold speed improvement has been completely negated by the order.

“There is no clearer proof than the fact that Videotron has withdrawn its flagship gigabit Internet offer from the market, including for its own retail customers, explicitly as a result of the order.”

Videotron is a subsidiary of Montreal-based Quebecor Inc. that competes in Quebec against Bell, but shares BCE’s view that the CRTC’s wholesale broadband pricing regime should be scrapped.

Videotron joined Rogers, Shaw and other large cable network operators in a suit filed with the federal appeal court. Bell Canada filed a similar suit with the court on behalf of itself, Bell MTS and Bell Aliant.

Read the Article here….

Hundreds rally against Doug Ford’s health care cuts

November 14, 2019 – 1:00 PM

 

On Saturday November 9, hundreds of Unifor members and retiree’s joined with coalition partners at the latest Ontario Health Coalition rally to protect public health care from Doug Ford’s reckless cuts to hospitals, long-term care, and ambulance services.

“Doug Ford says he’s for the people but he’s proved that he’s only for the rich people,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “They offer tax breaks to the wealthiest in our society, to rich corporations, and slap all sorts of cuts on us to pay for their gifts to the rich. This is an attack on our children and grandchildren.”

Dias spoke at the mass public rally to denounce the cuts by the Ford Conservatives. Dias took the opportunity to remind supporters that residents in nursing homes receive just six minutes of care each morning, and that we must keep fighting to make sure conditions are improved so we have better care and safer work.

“Doug Ford’s government has been a complete disaster for Ontario’s public services. All told, he has cut billions of dollars from sorely needed funding for vital social programs that help Ontario’s most vulnerable, the sick, children with autism, and our seniors,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to National President Jerry Dias. “Ford’s cuts amount to a cut of more than $1,100 per person in Ontario on everything from hospitals and schools to vital social and public services including water and food safety, and even vaccinations.”

The government plans to cut funding for and eliminate 25 out of 35 local public health units ,49 out of 59 local paramedic & ambulance services, and eliminate 12 of 22 local dispatch units. They have also imposed real-dollar cuts to local hospitals, and impose real-dollar cuts to long-term care homes, including cancelling two special funds that contribute to resident’s well-being.

While the province is experiencing a severe shortage of personal support workers, Ford has also implemented public sector wage restraint legislation that will disproportionately affect women who work in health care and social services, earning very modest wages.

Unifor is monitoring leaked information that suggests home care services will be privatized in local communities and more major cuts are coming to care provision staff in the provincial agencies including the LHINs.

“What type of government would attack children with autism, cut $17 million from women’s programs, and then cut funding and give less care to the sick, to our seniors, and to the most vulnerable in our society?” asked Dias. “Doug Ford’s conservative government is attacking health care workers and patients alike and it’s up to us to put a stop to his conservative agenda.”

The November 9 day of action came as part of four regional actions across Ontario supported by labour unions and social partners working with the Ontario Health Coalition to fightback against the Ontario government’s health care cuts.

Unifor has launched the Stop Ford Cuts campaign in September to fightback against the government’s conservative agenda. The campaign calls for an end to the government’s slashing of public services and municipal spending, and instead invest in public services that lift up all workers and ensure a brighter future for all.

You can take action now and tell Premier Ford to stop his reckless cuts by visiting stopfordcuts.ca.

Ontario Northland transfer good sign for travellers in Northern Ontario

November 12, 2019 – 12:00 AM

TORONTO– Steps toward a transfer of ministerial oversight of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to the Ministry of Transportation is a positive change for residents in Northern Ontario, but the key component of Northlander rail line service remains missing.

“All residents of Ontario deserve access to a safe and reliable transportation network, that must include the North,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Unifor members in the transportation sector have called not only for this transfer, but also for the return of the Northlander rail service.”

Following the cancellation of the Northlander rail service between Toronto and Cochrane six years ago, Unifor members have advocated for its return, to keep Ontario Northland in public hands, and for today’s transfer in order to increase collaboration with Metrolinx (Go Transit) and to connect more communities.

The union collected thousands of names and signatures from people demanding these changes, and a return of affordable passenger rail service to their communities.

Today’s announcement, to explore transferring the Crown corporation, comes just one day after Ontario Northland reported the cancellation of bus service linking Manitoulin Island and Sudbury, remained silent on the return of the Northlander rail service.

“A timely transfer of Ontario Northland will be step one for Doug Ford, but he’s still short of fulfilling his campaign promise to Northerners. The Premier ran on a pledge to bring back the Northlander train and increase service, and we’re still waiting to see it coming down the tracks,” continued Dias

Unifor members proudly help restart the Nordic Kraft pulp mill in Lebel-sur-Quévillon

November 14, 2019 – 11:15 AM

Our members are proud to participate in the reopening of the Nordic Kraft pulp mill in Lebel-sur-Quévillon, officially announced on November 8.

“What is happening in Quévillon is no small feat,” explained Unifor Quebec Director Renaud Gagné. “Imagine restarting a mill that’s been shuttered since 2005. Even though it wasn’t dismantled for its metal, it’s easy to understand that time and the elements have affected the facility,” he added.

“I’d like to highlight the fact that we devoted a great deal of time and energy over the past few years to various projects aimed at getting this mill back up and running. Today, we are extremely proud and pleased that this project is finally moving forward,” said brother Gagné.

In April, the members ratified a new collective agreement with wage conditions comparable to those negotiated in other pulp mills such as the Saint-Félicien facility owned by Resolute Forest Products.

“We weren’t able to talk publicly about the reopening before the official announcement because there were still some loose ends to tie up,” said the Quebec Director.

Unifor has long advocated for the need to develop new niche markets for the use of forestry products – a renewable resource – in order to ensure the future not only of jobs in the industry, but also of entire regional communities that depend on it for their livelihood. In that sense, the Nordic Kraft projects corresponds exactly to what the union has been demanding for so long.

The mill is scheduled to start producing pulp in 2020. Ultimately, it is expected to provide jobs for hundreds of Unifor members. Local 1212 currently represents about 100 members who are working on recommissioning the mill’s production equipment.

Remembrance Day November 11 2019

Rememb.

Remembrance Day commemorates the sacrifices of people in all armed conflicts.

Why Remember?

Canadians departing for active service in Europe during the Second World War, 1940.
(Library and Archives Canada C-38723)

We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument.1

A Canadian soldier kneels at grave of fallen comrade in the United Nations Cemetery, Korea, April 1951. (Library and Archives Canada PA 128813)

These wars touched the lives of Canadians of all ages, all races, all social classes. Fathers, sons, daughters, sweethearts: they were killed in action, they were wounded, and thousands who returned were forced to live the rest of their lives with the physical and mental scars of war. The people who stayed in Canada also served—in factories, in voluntary service organizations, wherever they were needed.

Yet for many of us, war is a phenomenon seen through the lens of a television camera or a journalist’s account of fighting in distant parts of the world. Our closest physical and emotional experience may be the discovery of wartime memorabilia in a family attic. But even items such as photographs, uniform badges, medals, and diaries can seem vague and unconnected to the life of their owner. For those of us born during peacetime, all wars seem far removed from our daily lives.

Funeral service for Canadians at Bramshott during the First World War.
(Library and Archives Canada PA 4850)

We often take for granted our Canadian values and institutions, our freedom to participate in cultural and political events, and our right to live under a government of our choice. The Canadians who went off to war in distant lands went in the belief that the values and beliefs enjoyed by Canadians were being threatened. They truly believed that “Without freedom there can be no ensuring peace and without peace no enduring freedom.”2

By remembering their service and their sacrifice, we recognize the tradition of freedom these men and women fought to preserve. They believed that their actions in the present would make a significant difference for the future, but it is up to us to ensure that their dream of peace is realized. On Remembrance Day, we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country and acknowledge our responsibility to work for the peace they fought hard to achieve.

During times of war, individual acts of heroism occur frequently; only a few are ever recorded and receive official recognition. By remembering all who have served, we recognize their willingly-endured hardships and fears, taken upon themselves so that we could live in peace.