It’s easy to forget how much we depend on public services. Most Canadians use them every day without even realizing it. So as a reminder, here are the top 10 perks of public services:
It’s something we take for granted: cool, clean water, straight from the tap. Most of us living in urban areas don’t have to worry about whether it’s safe to drink. Why? Because of provincial regulations and public employees who are constantly treating drinking water and testing its quality.
2. Good Times!
A lot of the fun things we do, and the goods times we share, are possible thanks to public services. Here are some examples:
- Your favourite song by Drake is playing on the radio because of CRTC policies and regulations that ensure Canadian content
- You can take a weekend and head to a provincial park, or steal away for 15 minutes at lunch for a walk through a local park maintained by public employees — parks that exist only because of zoning regulations designed by public employees
- You can spend a Saturday at a publicly funded museum with your kids and see some seriously cool exhibits. And if your kids need to burn off excess energy, you can take them to swimming lessons at a municipal recreation centre, with lifeguards employed by the city, and public employees who keep the facility clean
3. The Weather
Sure, we love to complain about it. But at least we know what to complain about — thanks to highly trained meteorologists at Environment Canada. This federal department that has been issuing reports, regular forecasts, and severe weather warnings since 1871! How else would you know if it’s the right day to bring your rompers and maxi dresses out of storage?
When you bite into your favourite food at a restaurant and you don’t get sick, you can thank food inspection scientists and public health inspectors. Those public employees are dedicated to safeguarding food by enforcing government regulations on the production of livestock and plants. They also make sure that restaurants are clean and that employees handle food in a safe manner.
5. This ain't no episode of Bugs Bunny
We don’t need to worry about pianos falling on our heads as we walk down the street: our safety is already protected thanks to health and safety laws! And it’s thanks to the hard work and dedication of firefighters, police officers, paramedics, nurses, and first responders that make it possible for us to leave our houses without decking ourselves out in bubble wrap first.
6. Baby on board!
We drive to work on highways and bridges built with tax dollars. The trip is safe thanks to traffic laws and highway maintenance officers who maintain roads and inspect vehicles like transport trucks to ensure they meet safety standards. The trip is also safer thanks to regulations requiring seat belts, air bags, child seats, and equipment inspections.
7. Can you read this?
The fact is, you probably wouldn’t even be reading this if it weren’t for public education. And if you disagree, you can write us an email, which is another thing you likely learned from highly dedicated, professional, and publicly funded teachers.
By now, it shouldn’t come as a shock to learn that electricity comes from a utility company that is either publicly owned or provincially regulated. There’s no problem with your electrical line because it was installed and inspected by a professional electrician trained at a public community college and licensed by a government-mandated regulatory body.
9. All aboard
Your friend just won a radio contest that gives you 2 free passes to the hottest music festival of the summer! The downside? There’s no overnight camping, which means one of you will have to be the DD. The upside? You can just take public transportation, which is designed, serviced, and operated by public employees. Best of all, it means you don’t have to pay for the privilege of parking in a field that’s 1 km from the festival entrance.
10. What a load of garbage!
Waste management is an essential aspect of our daily routine. Collecting, transporting, disposing, treating, recycling, and composting in an environmentally friendly manner are all publicly funded services.
You might be thinking, this is great, but why does a union care so much about public services? There are a couple of different reasons, the first of course being that our members are the public who use public services. We don’t stop caring about our members just because they’re off the clock. Another reason is because Canada has a long, loooooong history of privatization that usually leads to poor service with a high price tag for tax payers. At NUPGE, we have a lot of material you can check out if you want to learn more about privatization and the struggle to keep public services public. It’s a battle we’re happy to keep fighting on behalf of all Canadians!