The City of Toronto has launched an online petition demanding the province reverse its funding cuts.
According to the City, on April 11, 2019, Ontario tabled its 2019 budget and included unilateral, retroactive cuts to the City of Toronto’s already approved 2019 budget.
About $177 million is expected to be cut in 2019 alone, and the City says it will directly impact services the people of Toronto need and expect from its governments.
Included in the cuts is the cancelled planned provincial gas tax funding will amount to $24 million, while the cuts to children’s services will amount to $84.8 million.
Additionally, Toronto paramedic services will face $3.85 million in cuts, while the shortfall from Toronto Public Health will be $65 million.
Since the full breakdown was announced, Mayor John Tory shared an open letter from 10 former Ontario Ministers of Health, calling on the Province to reverse cuts to Public Health.
“A healthy Ontario is one of the best ways we can ensure we have high quality of life, vibrant communities, and a strong economy. That’s why funding the Province provides to public health units is so important. We need a network of public health services properly funded to protect the health of all Ontarians,” reads the letter, addressed to Christine Elliott, which goes on to say that much of the work that public health services does is preventative work.
“Public health services prevent disease outbreaks, keep our water clean, vaccinate our children, and provide school breakfast programs children in need. The 2019 Ontario budget puts this vital work at risk,” it says.
With the millions of dollars cut this year, health officials and leaders have spoken against the province’s move, while municipalities have said that they can’t make up the differences created by the cuts, according to the letter.
10 former Ontario Ministers of Health – from past PC, NDP, & Liberal governments – have released a joint open letter calling on the Province to reverse cuts to Public Health. Add your voice to opposing these cuts by signing the petition: https://t.co/NCP3LsAYil pic.twitter.com/jsga6POQao
— John Tory (@JohnTory) May 23, 2019
“The cutting of public health services cannot go forward… funding must be restored,” reads the letter. “It also makes no economic sense. Public health helps Ontarians stay healthy, so they don’t need to go to the doctor, or hospital, saving time and money.”
The letter, dated May 23, asks the province to look back to the SARS epidemic to realize the “devastating impact of failing to invest in public health.”
The City of Toronto’s petition can be found here.