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Ontarians rank Doug and the deficit as top concerns: OPSEU

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas at Queen's Park.

Toronto – Ontarians rank Doug and the deficit as top concerns, according to new Nanos research released today at Queen’s Park. Ontarians identified Ford as a bigger problem than climate change, wages, jobs and the economy.


OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the Premier should start paying attention to what “the people” are saying.

“It’s ironic with his environmental track record that Ford is the natural disaster Ontarians fear the most,” said Thomas. “Despite this government’s efforts to paint themselves as the party ‘for the people,’ that message just isn’t sticking. The Nanos poll should serve as a wakeup call for Ford as he puts together his budget – the people of Ontario care about public services, and they won’t stand idly by for his slash-and-burn circus.”

The poll found nearly 90 per cent of Ontarians say public service cuts would affect them personally, and 70 per cent of the people are worried about such cuts. Most Ontarians also say Doug Ford’s government is moving in the wrong direction.

“It’s time for a PC priority shift,” said Thomas. “They’ve done a lot of deficit fear mongering to set the stage for deep cuts, but this poll shows Ford is completely at odds with most of the people he keeps claiming to be governing for.”

Thomas was joined by Lucy Morton, Chair of OPSEU’s Community Health Care Professionals Division, and RM Kennedy, Chair of OPSEU’s College Faculty Division, who warned that Ford’s approach to health care and education would only serve to harm the little guy.

Costly health care restructuring schemes, tuition cuts without funding increases for post-secondary institutions and changes to OSAP will only harm patients and Ontario’s most vulnerable students, says the union.


“Obviously this rookie government needs some solid budgeting advice,” said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “For more than 80 per cent of Ontarians, health care and education are the public services that matter most, yet Ford is bungling both of these files. It’s Ford’s own 55-plus demographic that’s most concerned about health care, so you’d think he’d get it.

“The economics of it are basic,” said Almeida. “Waste less money on privatization schemes and whopping management salaries, and put that money where it matters most, by investing in frontline services that make our province and its people stronger.”

“With so many broken promises, it’s no wonder the people don’t buy Ford’s slogans,” said Thomas. “If he wants to pull himself out of the trash bin of public opinion, he’ll need to produce a budget that invests in people and public services. OPSEU’s got practical and affordable ideas from our frontline members, and Ford should start listening to what we have to say.”

OPSEU Poll at a Glance

Ford government

  • Ontarians more frequently think Premier Doug Ford and his new PC government and the deficit/debt are the top problems facing Ontario today (15% each). Other say climate change and the environment (6%), wages and jobs (5%), the economy (4%) or healthcare (3%). Only 2% said it was taxes.
  • 60% say the Ford government is moving in the wrong direction.
  • 58% say the Ford government is doing a poor or very poor job at being transparent and accountable.
  • 68% say they dislike or somewhat dislike it when Ford says he’s “for the people.”

Public Services

  • 70% of Ontarians agree or somewhat agree that they are worried about cuts to public services.
  • 58% disagree or somewhat disagree that the deficit is a crisis that demands big cuts to public services.
  • 88% say cuts to public services would have an impact on them personally.

Nanos Research conducted a telephone/online survey of 1,000 Ontarians (at least 19 years of age) Dec. 10 – 17, 2018. Margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931