The provincial labour minister made a surprise appearance in Peterborough this week at a gathering for former General Electric employees concerned about their exposure to toxins in the workplace.
Labour Minister Kevin Flynn, the MPP for Oakville, arrived unannounced at the gathering at the Naval Club on Tuesday, shortly before 8 p.m.
He told no one he was coming: even his own ministry staff was caught by surprise when he arrived.
People took photos of Flynn at the gathering and yet no photos or mention of the visit appeared on social media for more than 24 hours.
On Thursday, Flynn wasn’t available for comment.
But spokesman Michael Speers said the minister was discreet about his visit because he didn’t want to detract from the purpose of the gathering – which was helping former GE employees.
“He’s been very cognizant of the need to keep the focus on people who need help,” Speers said.
Organizers said roughly 200 former employees attended the gathering over three days.
Of those, about 14 people started the process of filing their first claim with Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
That was the idea of the gathering: people were there to find out how to begin filing a claim with WSIB related to hazardous material at the plant.
Many former GE workers have developed cancer over the years, and many say it’s because of long-term exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos and benzene.
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister and Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal also attended the gathering. He spent two hours there Wednesday night, a day after Flynn.
Leal’s father worked at GE for more than 40 years. The event was well…
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