Ontario's 2024 Budget Fails Women and Gender-Diverse People: Underfunded Services Deepen Gender Inequality | The Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario’s 2024 Budget Fails Women and Gender-Diverse People: Underfunded Services Deepen Gender Inequality

Tuesday’s release of the 2024 Ontario Budget marked a significant setback for women across the province. Despite promises of inclusivity and progress, the budget falls short of being gender-responsive, perpetuating systemic inequalities and exacerbating hardships for women and marginalized communities.

Chronic underfunding of public services disproportionately burdens women. When essential services like healthcare, childcare, and social assistance are deprived of adequate funding, women and gender-diverse people are left to bear the brunt of the consequences. They are forced to dig deeper into their pockets to cover the costs of these vital services, leaving them with less disposable income for necessities like food, rent, and utilities.

This financial strain exacerbates existing inequalities, pushing women and gender-diverse people, especially those from marginalized backgrounds, further into poverty and economic insecurity. Without sufficient support from public services, women and gender-diverse people are left to navigate a landscape where basic needs become luxuries, hindering their ability to fully participate in the workforce and society.

The failure to prioritize gender-responsive budgeting perpetuates a cycle of disadvantage. By neglecting to consider the unique needs and challenges faced by women and gender-diverse people, the government misses an opportunity to address systemic barriers and create policies that promote equity and inclusion.

The repercussions of this budget extend far beyond fiscal concerns; they directly impact the well-being and livelihoods of women and gender-diverse people across Ontario. Access to affordable healthcare, quality education, safe housing, and reliable childcare should not be privileges reserved for the few, but fundamental rights afforded to all.

The OFL presented a comprehensive suite of public policy solutions for Healthcare, Child Care, Housing, and Education in a pre-Budget submission, none of which appear in this Budget.

As advocates for gender equality, it is imperative that we hold our government accountable for their actions and demand policies that uplift and empower women. Ontario cannot afford to ignore the urgent call for gender-responsive budgeting and adequately funded public services. Until meaningful change is enacted, women and gender-diverse people will continue to bear the disproportionate burden of systemic inequality, hindering the progress and prosperity of our province as a whole.