The Ontario government is continuing to hand over money through electricity subsidies to large, profitable, industrial, and commercial businesses, money that should instead be used to bolster critical public services that keep Ontarians safe, says CUPE Ontario.
“Companies like Loblaws who have actually profited during this pandemic are getting government money to pay their hydro bills while public services are stretched thin due to years of underfunding,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “We’re talking about billions that could – and should – be funding a minimum care standard in long-term care, make our schools safe, ensure a supply of PPE for all workers who need them, reduce surgical wait times in hospitals, and so much more.”
A report by the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) of Ontario released today identified energy and electricity subsidy programs costing $118.1 billion over 20 years, from 2020-21 to 2039-40 – while two-thirds of the spending will benefit Ontario households, one-third will benefit businesses.
This follows a report by FAO from March of last year which revealed the Province’s plan to subsidize the cost of industrial and commercial electricity rates amount to $15.2-billion over the life of the program. Additionally, while the program will reduce the electrical costs for all ratepayers, the Province will clawback subsidies to residential, farm, and small business ratepayers by lowering the discount provided by the Ontario Electricity Rebate.
“The foundation of the problem is the privatization of our Hydro system,” said Hahn. “When we had a fully public system, power was available at cost, for everyone. Now an “Electricity Market” dictates prices that are unaffordable for many people and small businesses. If we really want to address this issue, the best way to do it is to make hydro public again.”
“This proves yet again that the priorities of the Ford Conservatives don’t reflect the needs in our communities – and that now is the time to stop shoveling subsidies to corporations.”