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DEL DUCA: Ontarians deserve economic dignity – Toronto Sun

Publishing date:

Mar 26, 2022  •  3 hours ago  •  2 minute read  •  42 Comments

Steven Del Duca makes a point at the Ontario Liberal Party leadership debate in Sudbury on Jan. 30.
Steven Del Duca makes a point at the Ontario Liberal Party leadership debate in Sudbury on Jan. 30. Photo by John Lappa /Postmedia

My grandfather, Alfonso, came to this country in 1958 and went to work.

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Even after an accident on the job broke his hip and most of his ribs, he continued to work hard, despite a limp he would have for the rest of his life. My dad inherited his work ethic, retiring at 78 years old from construction management.

My mom immigrated from Scotland and was an educator, legal assistant and a successful small business owner.

It is a story that is quintessentially Canadian. When my wife, Utilia, and I started our family, I understood that story on a much deeper level, knowing what drove and motivated my parents and grandparents — building a better life for their kids.

I ran for Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party because people need to continue seeing their hard work pay off and result in a better life for their families. And, I am running to lead this province because Doug Ford’s Conservatives have made it a lot harder for families in Ontario to create opportunities for themselves.

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Under Doug Ford that quintessential Canadian story so many of us share is under threat and slipping away.

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The short-sightedness of Ford’s decisions would have normally taken much longer to be felt, but two years living under a pandemic has shone a bright light through the cracks Ford created in our economy, undermining further the opportunities it should be providing to families.

Doug Ford took away guaranteed paid sick days. It took him 412 days to restore them, and only temporarily. Ford cut a planned increase to the minimum wage and then froze it, denying 700,000 workers an increase in their wages for three years. And he dragged his heels for months in signing on to affordable childcare, which today could be saving parents thousands of dollars and providing some much-needed relief at a time when it’s needed most.

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The Ontario Liberal Party has a plan that moves beyond just undoing the damage Doug Ford has caused working families in Ontario.

Our plan includes 10 paid sick days for all workers, reimbursed by the government. The Ontario Liberal plan will not only immediately raise the minimum wage to $16 an hour, it will implement Canada’s first living wage that factors in the different regions of the province that can be more expensive. We will also ensure every worker in Ontario is covered by a portable benefits plan, regardless of whether they are a gig, self-employed, contract or creative worker.

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For small business owners, our plan includes supports that will help our job creators recover from the pandemic, including eliminating corporate taxes for two years for deeply hurt small businesses.

The goal of our plan is to begin restoring Ontario’s opportunity before it slips any further away from families. I have a team of experienced and committed Ontarians from across the province who are ready to get to work.

Many of us share the same quintessential Canadian story and are driven by the same motivation: to honour the hard work of past generations with a brighter future for our children.

— Steven Del Duca is the Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party

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