Ford government moving forward with controversial municipal funding cuts

Aug 19 2019, 9:50 am

Premier Doug Ford is moving forward with his controversial municipal funding cuts that directly affect public health and childcare next year.

Ford made the announcement Monday morning at a gathering of municipal leaders in Ottawa, where he committed to building strong, local partnerships with municipalities.

It’s a move that Toronto city councillor Joe Cressy called “an attack on Ontarians” in a public statement.

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Ford first revealed his planned municipal funding cuts this past spring but was forced to cancel them after receiving backlash from city officials for being “short-sighted, harmful, and wrong.”

The cuts would affect school breakfast programs, DineSafe Toronto (the city’s restaurant inspection program), sexual health clinics, clinics that prevent the spread of diseases (such as measles), daycare safety inspection, emergency preparation and response, as well as inspection of water quality — among other cuts.

Cressy said Ford did the right thing by cancelling the cuts and announcing a “re-set,” but today, rather than a significant change, the premiere gave yet another “unilateral announcement of harmful cuts.”

During his speech, Ford acknowledged his government “moved quickly” when it came into office to address its “inherited challenges, but we’ve listened to you.”

As of January 1, 2020, all municipalities will cover 30% of the cost of their public health programs—currently, the province covers 100% of some public health programs and 75% of others, according to Cressy, who is the chair of Toronto’s board of health and led the campaign against Ford’s cuts.

Cressy added that he has a simple message for premiere Ford, “reverse your short-sighted and dangerous cuts to public health.”

Following the announcement, Toronto Mayor John Tory said, “I recognize and appreciate the challenges the Government of Ontario faces in getting its deficit under control, and I support its intention to do so.”

“However, this must be done in a prudent, collaborative manner that does not impact the services that people in Toronto rely on each and every day. The City will continue to work in collaboration with the Province to identify efficiencies in both of our governments without jeopardizing core services our residents expect. ”

“In the days ahead, we will be reviewing the full details of today’s proposal, particularly with regards to childcare funding in Toronto, where based on information currently available, the City could still face significant impacts to its budget next year.”

“As always, I will continue to advocate for investment in vital services, such as public health and child care, while looking at ways we can modernize and deliver those and other services more effectively,” said Tory.

Fords also addressed a long list of infrastructure funding his government has promised for municipalities, which amount to $144-billion over the next decade.