The Ottawa CUPE District Council is disturbed by the continued war on the working class and the marginalized expressed in the Ontario Budget tabled by Doug Ford’s Government on April 11th. The government delivered a budget that is based on merging or restructuring existing public services as opposed to funding them.
The budget also raised the spectre of racism by cutting legal aid that covered refugee and immigration programs. Telling refugees and immigrants that they cannot access legal aid is troubling, as it affects not just their status in this country, but other matters such as housing issues. Furthermore, the budget wages war on the poor as it cuts over $1 billion from Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
In this budget, total program spending will only go up an average of 0.8 per cent annually over the next three years, yet Ontario already spends the lowest amount per person on public services in Canada. The Ford government budget is also focused more on taking money from our public services while failing to tax wealthy corporations. This means more cuts to the programs and public services that working people and their families depend on: health care, education, decent work and healthy communities are all at risk.
With this budget, quality education will be hard hit with larger class sizes, mandatory e-learning for high school students and reducing access for students with different learning requirements. Cuts to education mean fewer supports for special education, less money to fix buildings, and the potential closing of community schools. The budget also unveiled a plan that could see nearly 20 Local Health Integration Network (LHINs) agencies gradually collapsed into a single organization that would oversee everything from cancer services to organ transplants to home care. This new organization will be stretched too thinly and experts advise against this change.
As working people in the Province of Ontario, OCDC members call on this government to immediately stop its attacks on refugees and the poor as well as to halt its cuts on education and healthcare. The OCDC will be talking to the public, co-workers, neighbours, family and friends about what’s at stake! We advise this government to take heed of our demands and work for the people, not against them.
Ontarians want quality public services, decent work and healthy communities for all!
Signed by OCDC Executive Board