Ontario’s 2020 Budget won’t protect and support communities, and it misses the opportunity to help us through the second wave of COVID-19, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

“The Ford Conservatives did an excellent job of making their proposed budget sound good, but it misses the mark taking the action we need now,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “And it actually sets the stage for an even more dangerous future for Ontario.”

“There is no new money for public health when we need their important work now more than ever, or for municipalities that are struggling to provide critical services communities rely on,” said Hahn. “When 581 schools have outbreaks, there is no new money for our schools to keep our kids and education workers safe. And with all the pronouncements about fixing Long Term Care, we need to see the proof that the funding will actually be there for this important work.”

The union, which represents 280,000 public sector workers, highlighted the $9.3 billion of unspent money meant to manage this crisis; and pointed out that money promised is not necessarily money spent 

“Alarmingly, the direction of this budget has more to do with cutting taxes than with investments in services. This is clearly based on the tired, old, ideological assumption that cutting taxes will trickle down to make life better. But we all know that is a fantasy.”

“During his address, the Minister of Finance rightly spoke about how all of us need to work together to get through a crisis that impacts everyone,” said Hahn. “But that means building our collective resources to fund public services. This budget rejects the idea of raising taxes on those who are profiting on the pandemic, and who can afford to pay more. In fact, it goes hard in the other direction by cutting taxes and handing money over to the private sector. For example, private corporations who’ve seen their profits soar during the pandemic don’t need public dollars to pay their hydro. Ontarians have lost enough public money to our privatized hydro system. I don’t know why the Ford Conservatives want to give them more”

“Spending saves lives and our public services are our best bet for making it out of this together,” said Hahn.