Posts Tagged Budget Cuts

Cuts Are Coming To Social Services in Ontario

Newly Elected Premier Doug Ford said during the election campaign that caregivers and parents with children with disabilities would never have to march on Queen’s Park again if he was elected Premier. A new op-ed written by Stuart Trew from the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives warns that one of Ford’s promises during the campaign predicts significant cuts to social services moving forward, and parents who have long fought the austerity measures of Wynne may need to fight once again.

During the election campaign Ford promised to hold an “independent” audit of the provinces finances. According to Trew this is one of the oldest tricks in the books when it comes to trying to justify substantial austerity.

The Ontario Liberals used similar tricks. It was outgoing premier Kathleen Wynne who put former TD Bank CEO Ed Clark at the head of a value-for-money panel that eventually recommended privatizing Hydro One. That panel outsourced $7 million worth of its work to private auditors including KPMG, Pricewaterhousecoopers and Deloitte, all of which treat government like a corporation when assessing where and by how much to slash. (They all also work for companies who would profit from privatizing services currently delivered by the public sector.)

We needn’t wait for the results of Ontario’s “independent” audit to guess the outcome. The new premier’s transition team is filled with elites tied to the corporate world, not “the people,” as Premier Ford likes to say. The report will be designed carefully to 1) make the last government look really bad; 2) inflate the importance of government spending as a component of the province’s overall deficit, and, in doing so; 3) pave the way for ideologically driven cuts to social services. The result of following through with this process—which can be deadly, as the U.K. study found—is equally easy to predict, which is why we can’t let it happen again.

Kathleen Wynne used the same tactics to take an axe to services with kids with special needs. She tried to save a buck by restricting behavioral therapy to kids over the age of 5, which she recanted on due to public backlash. She slashed the special needs budgets of school boards to the point where kids with disabilities are still often sent home rather than in school learning. The cupboards are already bare. Any more cuts to social and public services could be devastating to kids with disabilities and their families.

Ford has also started a “wind down” of Ontario’s cap and trade program. The Trudeau government signaled today that the federal government could withhold over $420 million in transfer payments used to pay off current green energy contracts and programs currently being phased out. The two leaders meet tomorrow.

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Ontario To Axe CCAC In $50 Billion Health Care Overhaul

(Nothing to see here: Federal Health Minister mum on Ontario Closure of Community Care Access Centres)

The horror stories continue for the people of Ontario, with the federal government still very much on the sidelines.   Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced today that the government will be closing all Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) in favor of cost cutting measures, and moving the home care services to Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN).  These measures come on the heels of Ontario doctors filing a charter challenge on the cuts to the funding to their services, and reports that Ontario’s hospitals are now running over capacity.  Ontario hasn’t seen such regressive policies since the Uncommon Sense Revolution of former Primer Mike Harris in the mid-90’s which saw many Ontario patients die unnecessarily while waiting for care as a result of cuts to essential health care services.

In recent months, money has been cut from educational services, autism therapies, special needs kids, and now a critical part of home care for the province will be lost.  Money saved from these essential services is going to pay for green energy, free tuition, and keeping teachers unions at bay.  With an aging population, shouldn’t more money be spent on health care?  With a growing number of kids being diagnosed as special needs, shouldn’t more money be allocated to ensure they get their therapy?  Where are the priorities of this Ontario Government?  Free tuition, and filling union pocket books, seems to be a heavy price to pay with the cuts to essential services to help fund those priorities.

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