In addition to impacting infectious disease control, overdose prevention and immunization monitoring, cuts to Ontario’s public health services will also affect DineSafe.
Toronto Public Health’s food safety program offers inspections of every spot in the city that serves and prepares food.
Each inspection results in a pass, a conditional pass, or a closed notice, which are then posted on the city’s official website. The site offers data on all health inspections conducted over the last two years, and information is always readily available for diners to browse through before selecting where they’re going to enjoy a meal.
Recently, beloved King West eatery Cibo was listed on the site as being closed for significant infractions. The notice allowed for patrons to learn about the inspection and make their dinner plans accordingly.
But after major cuts to these sorts of services, knowledge on the health standards of your favourite restaurants could be a lot more difficult to obtain.
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Last month, Toronto Public Health received word from the province that over the next three years, funding for the city’s health services would be cut 25%.
According to the city, this will impact restaurant inspections and the resources behind them.
“Whether it is providing school immunization programs, protecting people from measles, influenza, the next SARS and other outbreaks, helping keep our water safe to drink, inspecting our restaurants, pools, and beaches, public health keeps our city and residents safe, healthy and strong,” a spokesperson from Toronto Public Health told Daily Hive.
“The provincial changes will have significant negative impacts on the health of Toronto residents and we were extremely disappointed to hear this news. We are engaging in discussions with the province and our city colleagues to best determine how to meet the public health needs of Torontonians.”
John Tory echoed these same concerns at a recent speech to the Scarborough Business Association, emphasizing that cuts to the city’s health funding total to more than $1 billion over 10 years.
He highlighted the risks posed to student breakfast programs, vaccination programs, water testing, infectious disease control and restaurant inspections, commenting that money for health services is being allocated towards the sale of booze in convenience stores.
“Where is the sense in that? Cutting public health programs and daycare programs to find the extra money to pay the Beer Store to change their contract?” Tory said, in his address to the room at the Business Association.
“What does that say about priorities – cutting public health and childcare but funding alcohol in corner stores?”
Tory concluded his speech by pledging to continue opposing the cuts.
“I commit to you here today that I won’t let our city be pushed backwards,” he said.