The Government of Ontario now has $12 billion of unallocated funds and it must be spent immediately to keep Ontarians safe and to ensure a recovery for all, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.
“It was bad enough when we learned that the Ford Conservatives were hoarding $9 billion that could be going towards funding the safety measures we desperately need and providing direct supports for the many Ontarians who lost their jobs,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “For them to add insult to injury by increasing this amount by another $3 billion, when we’re deep in the second wave and we’re breaking records for the number of new cases nearly every day, is almost unbelievable and completely unacceptable.”
The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario revealed the unallocated funds - made up of the COVID-19 Health Sector Response Fund (Health Fund), the Support for People and Jobs Fund (SPJF) and the Contingency Fund – in a report today. The report comes on the heels of the passing of the Province’s Budget, which included flatlined and reduced funding for public services like health care, education at all levels, social services, and municipalities; and tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Ontarians.
“From the Budget to the hoarding of $12 billion in unspent collective resources that could be helping our province while they keep telling us they are doing everything they can for “the people”, this is a perfect example of Disaster Capitalism,” said Hahn. “The Ford Conservatives are using the pandemic as a cover to usher in some of the worst measures. By announcing these funds as part of the pandemic relief, Ford makes it look like his Conservative government is taking action. But as unallocated reserves and contingency funds, these dollars aren’t actually being spent on the front-line and will remain in the piggy bank for the Ford Conservatives to possibly use, to their political advantage, in the lead up to the next election. Yet again, Ford would be putting politics before people’s lives.”
“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, 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 through the brutal second wave of this pandemic.”