Tory hopeful on collaborative process with Ford following budget cut reversal

May 27 2019, 2:57 pm

After weeks of building tension between Premier Doug Ford and Mayor John Tory, Ford has officially announced he will be cancelling the PC’s drastic $177 million in retroactive budget cuts to the City of Toronto.

The cuts would directly affect Toronto’s public health, child care, EMS, and other municipal services.

The move comes as after Ford’s popularity plunged drastically in a recent public-opinion poll, which found the premier’s rating has now fallen even lower than Kathleen Wynne’s before the last election.

Additionally, the major move follows the city launching an online petition last Thursday, demanding that the province reverse its funding cuts. As of Saturday, more than 27,000 people have signed the petition, according to the mayor.

On Monday morning, Tory responded to the announcement, thanking residents, councillors, city staff, and the mayors across the province, who helped oppose the cuts.

“I also want to thank Premier Doug Ford and Minister Steve Clark for listening to these concerns and re-considering the Government of Ontario’s decision,” said Tory.

“As I have said before, I recognize and appreciate the challenges the Government of Ontario faces getting its budget 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 vital services that people in Toronto rely on each and every day. This can only be done if we work together.”

Tory added that when he spoke with Ford Monday morning he reiterated Toronto’s willingness to work with the province to find efficiencies, especially without jeopardizing core services residents expect.

City councillor Joe Cressy, who has been very vocal about opposing the cuts, said Ford has done “the right thing.”

“But our work isn’t over—we must all continue to stand up and speak out to ensure future cuts to our vital public health and child care services do not proceed,” said Cressy.

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This April, the PCs tabled its 2019 budget, which included unilateral, retroactive cuts to the City of Toronto’s already approved 2019 budget.

These funding cuts, about $177 million in 2019 alone, would directly impact services the people of Toronto depend on, which resulted in a number of public strikes and protests.

Less than a month after the budget came out, a report from Chris Murray, Toronto’s city manager, revealed how the funding changes, identified to date, would impact the city and lead to the estimated $177.65 million budget shortfall in 2019.

If Ford didn’t cancel the cuts, this is what would have been affected:

  • $65 million for Toronto Public Health (more than $1 billion over 10 years, affecting services like vaccinations and child nutrition programs)
  • $84.8 million for Children’s Services (threatening much-needed subsidies to more than 6,100 childcare spaces for families)
  • $3.85 million a year for Toronto Paramedic Services (affecting ambulance wait times for an already critical service)
  • $24 million from the cancellation of committed Provincial Gas Tax Funding (more than $1 billion over 10 years for TTC maintenance)
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