Ford’s Budget a failure to lead as Ontarians continue to suffer


TORONTO, March 26, 2024 – The Ford Government’s 2024 Budget, released this afternoon, fails to meet the moment and does nothing to help Ontarians struggling with the current cost of living crisis. OPSEU/SEFPO, the union representing Ontario’s public service workers, says the budget is just the latest in a series of bad choices made by this government.

“Today’s budget is just more of the same from a government that, frankly, can’t be trusted with our money or the public services we all rely on,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick. “They’re happy to pay three times more to have health care services delivered in for-profit clinics while our public hospitals – especially in rural and small-town Ontario – continue to struggle. Emergency rooms are forced to close, putting lives at risk.”

Ontario has the lowest program spending per person of any province in Canada – spending only 75 cents for every dollar that other provinces invest in programs and services.

The government is choosing to continue to starve the public services Ontarians rely on and throw away public revenues needed to fund them with tax cuts and corporate handouts. While in office, the Ford government has drained $7.7 billion from the provincial treasury through dozens of cuts to public revenue sources.

“From our hospitals, to the Greenbelt, to the LCBO, to our kids’ education, the Premier and his friends look around our province in the pursuit of private profits,” said Hornick. “Whether it’s a medical crisis, our need for shelter and housing, or our hope for a brighter future for our children, this government will try to find opportunities for their friends to turn a profit. Meanwhile, Ontarians are falling further behind.”

While the Ford government prioritizes building houses the average Ontarian couldn’t dream of affording, the unemployment rate is up, and Ontarians are struggling to pay for food and rent.

Failing to invest in our public services and the people who deliver them has resulted in a staffing crisis across the public service, and the people who rely on these vital services are suffering the consequences. This has been exacerbated by the government’s unconstitutional Bill 124, which effectively stole wages from public sector workers at a time of rising inflation and amidst a cost-of-living crisis.

“It will take years for some of these workers to catch up after what was stolen from them – but Premier Ford should take note: workers are fighting back and will get what they’re owed,” said Hornick. “If anything, this out-of-touch budget shows that Premier Ford is unwilling to fight for Ontarians. He won’t, but we will.”