Premier Doug Ford’s controversial funding cuts to public health will result in millions in budget shortfalls annually for Toronto.
On Friday morning, City Councillor Joe Cressy revealed the cuts will cause a shortage of over $14 million for Toronto in 2020 alone.
The new round of cuts targets life-saving public health services across the province, including school vaccinations, disease prevention, student breakfast programs, water quality testing, food safety inspections, and more.
“These cuts are short-sighted, harmful, and fiscally irresponsible. Make no mistake, these cuts will hurt people,” said Cressy.
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City Staff have now done the math – Provincial cuts to public health total more than $14 million annually for Toronto alone. My statement on this shortsighted and harmful Provincial cut, and our next steps. pic.twitter.com/C6cuZO8vF4
— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) August 30, 2019
As a result of the cuts, as of January 1, 2020, all provincial 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.
“The new cuts mean programs like diabetes prevention, enhanced food safety and swim-safe initiatives, infection prevention, infectious disease control, and more, previously funded 100% by the province, will now receive 30% less provincial money,” said Cressy.
“This, in addition to a reduction across the board for all the public health services that keep our communities safe and healthy.”
Cressy added research has found that every $1 invested in public health saves the healthcare system $16 in the future.
Toronto’s board of health budget committee will look at the impact of the provincial cuts and review opportunities for cost savings at an upcoming meeting next week.
“But, as the chair of the board of health, under no circumstances am I prepared to accept cuts that negatively affect the health of Torontonians,” said Cressy.