In the middle of a fourth wave, the Ford Conservatives are still senselessly sitting on billions of dollars that could go towards saving lives and ensuring a recovery for all, says CUPE Ontario.

“The single clearest lesson of the last 18 months is that public services save lives and that spending to bolster them is the least governments could do,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “At a time when cases are steadily rising, when there are outbreaks in schools, when universities and colleges are re-opening without additional measures like physical distancing, and when front-line workers across sectors are being forced to accept below inflation wage increases, sitting on $2.6-billion is a complete abdication of responsibility.”

A new report by the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) of Ontario showed that for all sectors during the first quarter in 2021-2022 the Ontario government spent less than planned, amounting to $2.6-billion in total.

“How can this government justify spending 24 per cent less on education when it’s now common knowledge that improved ventilation, smaller class sizes, and paid sick days for workers could save so many lives?” said Hahn.

The FAO report also noted that the $2.2-billion in unallocated funds the province said would be made available through a new program has not been included yet.

“We demand the Ford Conservatives end this shell game,” said Hahn. “Spend the money to keep Ontarians safe – in our Long-Term Care facilities, our schools and universites, our cities and towns, our social services for the most vulnerable. Invest in affordable housing and provide more direct financial support to people who are suffering. This is what we all need to get us out of this pandemic once and for all.”