March 24, 2021
(Toronto, ON) – The 2021 Ontario Budget misses the mark on leading Ontarians out of this year-long public health crisis and towards a just recovery. The Budget lacks meaningful investments into the public services that people rely on. Budget 2021 is missing paid sick day provisions for Ontario workers and there is no commitment to wage increases for PSWs and care sector workers beyond June 30, 2021.
There is no commitment to reinstate comprehensive Resident Quality Inspections in long-term care homes and no commitment to phase out “for profit” long-term care. Budget 2021 also fails to ensure safe schools across Ontario, leaving education workers, children and families at continued and unnecessary risk.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed what happens when public services are chronically underfunded,” said Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour President, “public health crises hit harder, and the province is less prepared to keep people healthy and safe. Now is the time to fix those mistakes, equip Ontario to recover, and prepare for the future – this budget does not deliver.”
The Budget fails to even keep education spending in line with the rate of inflation, “The Ford Government has demonstrated once again that the education of Ontarians, or the safety of education workers, students and their families is not a priority,” said Coates.
The Government’s announcement of $117.3 million in targeted employment and training supports to assist women, racialized individuals, Indigenous peoples, youth and people with disabilities are long overdue and should be substantially increased. “News that the Government plans on establishing a task force to address the unique economic barriers women face, particularly after COVID-19, must include the voices of working women. As the first woman President of the OFL, an organization that represents working women in every sector of Ontario’s economy, we must have a seat at that table,” said Coates.
One time funding injections and tax credits are not enough, and too often leave out the people who need them most. Today’s childcare tax credit announcement ignores what is needed most: universally accessible, affordable, and publicly funded childcare across the province.
“Ontario needs sustainable solutions that address years of chronically underfunded public services,” said Coates. Workers are reiterating the need to urgently fix staffing levels in long-term care, implement guaranteed paid sick days, raise wages for health care workers, ensure access to sufficient and reliable PPE, reduce class sizes, address the impacts of inaccessible childcare, and invest in post-secondary education.
Ontario has the means to invest in the services that people rely on. “If we are ‘all in this together,’ as Premier Ford famously repeats,” said Coates, “it’s time that the super-rich and big businesses who have profited from this pandemic aid in our collective recovery through fair and progressive taxation.”
We need bold, progressive changes that put workers first. Together, we can imagine and achieve better working and living conditions to survive this pandemic, to recover faster, and to build a safer, healthier and more equitable Ontario.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Communications
Ontario Federation of Labour
firstname.lastname@example.org | 416-894-3456