The day before the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) of Ontario was scheduled to release a report on the province’s finances, the Ford Conservatives misleadingly claimed they spent all the COVID-19 contingency funds, says CUPE Ontario. 

“Yesterday, the Finance Minister announced to Ontarians that the Ford government spent the entire $13.3-billion of contingency funds. That was just political spin,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “The FAO report says unequivocally that the 2020 Budget plan still includes unusually large contingency funds which remain unused. These are their words. But they reflect what we know: this government continues to purposefully mislead the people of Ontario.”

The report goes further to show that, excluding dedicated COVID-19 funding, program spending growth in the next two years for health care, education, children’s and social services, justice, and postsecondary education all fall short of the growing needs in these vital public services. In health care, for instance, base spending is projected to grow at an annual rate of 2.9 per cent, far below the projected growth of 4.6 per in costs due to population increase and aging alone.  

“We won’t even be matching our deplorably low current rate of funding for these critical services with this Budget plan, let alone boosting the public services we know, more than ever, Ontarians desperately need,” said Hahn. “Public services save lives. This government needs to act like they know that, and it needs to present a budget plan next week that completely changes direction and provides the funding public services need.”