FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2013
Modest Improvements Offer Little Relief in Austerity Budget
OFL Calls on Parties to Make Fairness the Focus of Budget Negotiations
(TORONTO, ON) ─ Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) President Sid Ryan welcomed modest measures in today’s Budget that responded to concerns identified in the People’s Budget but said the continuation of McGuinty’s austerity approach will fail to spur economic growth.
“Premier Wynne is holding the line on a one percent cap on public sector spending growth that is imposing real dollar cuts to hospitals, schools and vital public services,” said Ryan. “The province’s deficit reduction is taking place on the backs of working people while bankers and CEOs aren’t paying their fair share.”
“Ontarians were clear that they are frustrated with austerity cuts that are hurting every community and called on the government to make fairness a top priority,” said Ryan.
The OFL welcomes a series of budget measures that responded to the call from working families for good jobs and new opportunities. This spring the OFL launched a People’s Budget consultation process that asked Ontarians how to make Ontario fair for everyone. Several recommendations from the People’s Budget were reflected in today’s budget, including: $35 billion for infrastructure to create jobs and rebuild aging infrastructure; $295 million for a youth jobs strategy; $260 million for home care; $3 million for enforcement of employment standards; modest reforms to social assistance; and a commitment to address the minimum wage.
“The Wynne government has shown a willingness to listen to Ontarians, but what we really need is a more ambitious plan to address inequality and alleviate poverty,” said Ryan. “Plans to address the minimum wage are a step in the right direction but in the meantime, millions of Ontarians earning minimum wage are living below the poverty line,” said Ryan.
The OFL called the budget a missed opportunity to address inequality through fair taxation measures but said that it is not too late for improvements. The People’s Budget recommendations included four practical measures that would generate as much as $8 billion in new revenue that could be used to spur economic growth and ensure quality public services. The People’s Budget offers a positive path forward set out by the people of Ontario that the parties can look to for guidance in the coming negotiations.
“Ontarians do not want an election, but they can’t afford the social and economic cost of austerity,” said Ryan. “It is time for legislators to work together to put fairness into the budget.”
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour. Read the full set of recommendations from the People’s Budget at: www.ThePeoplesBudget.ca.
For further information:
Sid Ryan, OFL President: 416-209-0066 (cell) or @SidRyan_OFL
Joel Duff, OFL Communications Director: 416-707-0349 (cell) *ENGLISH/FRENCH*