Premier Doug Ford has announced that his government will reverse the retroactive cuts to public health, child care and land ambulances across Ontario.
“We’ve come up with a conclusion that we will maintain the funding throughout this year,” Ford told reporters outside his office at Queen’s Park on Monday. “(We will) maintain ground ambulance, child care, and public health. Those were the three big issues that we were facing. At the end of the day the taxpayers are going to be better off.”
Despite the concession to mayors across Ontario, Ford stressed that municipalities are committed to finding efficiencies.
“We are a government that listens and the municipal mayors are listening too,” he said. “(But) It’s not business as usual. We have to pay down the deficit and we are doing that in a responsible and reasonable manner, and we will balance (it) in the next five years.”
— Richard Southern (@richard680news) May 27, 2019
Last week, the City of Toronto fought back against the cuts by launching an online petition titled “Stop the Cuts.”
On Monday, Toronto Mayor John Tory applauded the provincial government’s decision.
“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,” Tory said in a statement. “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.
“In speaking with Premier Ford this morning, I reiterated Toronto’s willingness to work with them on what for us has been a continuous search for efficiencies each and every year, with our focus continuing to be on ways we can achieve them without jeopardizing core services our residents expect.”
Watch the full announcement below.
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark added:
“Our municipal leaders share the fact that we are in a fiscal hole and we all need to work together. The announcement today to maintain pre-budget funding levels for land ambulance, public health and child care services, gives us that opportunity to have good consultations and good suggestions about how collectively we can find those savings.”
Last month, Board of Health Chair, Coun. Joe Cressy and Toronto’s medical officer of Health sounded the alarm about the Ontario government’s proposed $1-billion cut to public health.
The cuts which were supposed to span over the next decade would have affected programs such as student nutrition, vaccinations, daycare inspections, food safety, outbreaks and dental services.