Ontario LegislatureYet again the Ford Conservatives are leaving billions of dollars on the table that could be spent to keep Ontarians safe and ensure the delivery of critical services, said CUPE Ontario.

“If it wasn’t obvious before the pandemic, it is now: spending saves lives,” said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “When governments spend to ensure paid sick days, invest in the public services that stepped up during the worst of times, and increase revenue by reversing the tax breaks and hydro subsidies extended to the wealthiest corporations we’re all safer and better off. But, surprise, yet another report tells us that the Ford Conservatives are leaving Ontarians without the resources we need.”

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO), an independent source of analysis of Ontario’s finances, released a report today telling a story that CUPE Ontario calls familiar. Over the first half of 2021-22, a period beginning in July of this year, the Province spent $4.3 billion less than planned, according to the FAO. The underspending was seen in most sectors, including health, children’s and social services, and education – all sectors that have been on the front-line of the pandemic where CUPE Ontario members work.

“The Ford Conservatives will keep talking out of both sides of their mouths by telling us they’re pro-worker and turning over a new leaf while abandoning workers when it comes time to spend the resources they need,” said Hahn. “More than ever, with an election coming up, and with the Ford Conservatives clearly hoarding resources so they can pay down the debt and claim to be responsible managers of our collective resources at our expense, we have to see through the spin. And with cases steadily on the rise, it’s absolutely the time to spend the money to keep Ontarians safe.”

Today’s report follows one from September 15 when the FAO said that the Ford Conservatives were sitting on $2.7 billion, with health spending being $691 million less than planned. On October 6, the FAO released another report revealing that 85 per cent of direct support measures came from the federal government while only 15 per cent came from the provincial government.