The Government of Ontario should continue to increase spending and invest in the services Ontarians need, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario released its Spring 2020 Economic and Budget Outlook report today, revealing that the pandemic has increased spending and will significantly impact the province’s deficit and debt.

“This isn’t surprising,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “These are unprecedented times and they call for unprecedented measures from government to help safeguard our communities and our economy. We need more investment and support to help Ontario continue to manage, and to rebound out of this crisis.” 

CUPE Ontario is, however, raising concerns that the Ford Conservatives might use the unsurprising reality of the province’s financial standing as an excuse to reintroduce austerity with cuts to services that Ontarians rely on.

The union notes that well before this crisis the Ford Conservatives, as well as previous governments, have used austerity as a method to deal with deficits.  

“We need stronger revenues and enhanced stimulus to deal with the times we’re in, and the recovery period that comes after. Austerity just isn’t the way forward,” said Hahn. “We need a government that doesn’t retreat when we need them most. We need a government that will step up and continue to expand spending on the services that will help us recover and thrive post-pandemic.”

“People have already paid a hefty price because of this crisis: to their health and to their finances,” said Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. “They shouldn’t be burdened any further by cuts to the services we all rely on.”