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Public health crisis looms as Ford continues municipal funding cuts crusade: OPSEU

Public health crisis looms as Ford continues municipal funding cuts crusade: OPSEU

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Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is warning that funding cuts could lead to a dangerous public health crisis, as already-overstretched municipalities grapple with growing costs.

In his address to municipal representatives at the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference this week, Ford announced his government is proceeding with a 30 per cent cut in the province’s share of funding for Public Health Units. Another 20 per cent will be cut by 2021.

“Funding public health isn’t just about dollars and cents,” said Thomas. “It’s about dollars and common sense too. Strong Public Health Units actually reduce negative health outcomes and costs in our hospitals and across the entire health care system.

“Smart investing is about saving costs in the long-run and that’s what Public Health Units do,” said Thomas. “The expert frontline staff at Ontario’s Public Health Units understand the important of disease prevention and health promotion. Their invaluable work prevents larger scale health crises from ever happening – that’s worth investing in.”  

Earlier this year, the Ford government faced harsh backlash when it tried to impose retroactive funding cuts on municipalities. Today’s announcement proves they’re still on course with their cuts agenda, despite claims that they’ve listened to people’s concerns.

“It’s time for Mr. Ford to stop blaming his destructive decisions on Ontario’s deficit and the previous government,” said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “If Ontario’s finances are so bad, this government wouldn’t be giving $3.8 billion in tax handouts to the wealthy and largest corporations. That’s fiscal mismanagement 101.

“They’ve offered ‘transitional funding’ to quell the backlash,” said Almeida. “But it doesn’t change the fact that they’re ploughing through with their destructive cuts agenda and that people will suffer.”

Thomas said Ford has made a calculated decision to pay for his tax cuts on the backs of Ontario’s municipalities and the people who rely on services like public health and child care.

“It’s time for the Premier to stop flushing our money down the drain – like canceling the Beer Store contract – and focus on investing in healthier communities,” said Thomas. “No matter how hard Tricky Doug tries to cover up his true agenda of lining his cronies’ pockets, we aren’t going to stand by and let Ontarians pay the price.”

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