Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday August 21, 2019
Ford government unveils revised cuts to funding for municipalities
Local taxpayers will feel the pinch of higher costs for new daycare spaces and public health programs under funding changes from Premier Doug Ford’s government, critics say, with Mayor John Tory warning of “significant” impacts on Toronto’s finances.
The province unveiled its revised plan Monday, just three months after backing down on retroactive and controversial cuts to public health, daycare and ambulance services in the face of stiff criticism from Tory and other leaders after municipal budgets were set for the year.
“We recognize our government moved quickly when we came into office,” Ford told about 2,000 delegates at the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in Ottawa. “But we’ve listened to you.”
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath suggested Ford’s listening skills have not improved.
“This morning, Doug Ford confirmed that the countdown to devastating cuts is on,” she said in a statement. “He’s slashing things like public health and child care, things that keep families safe and healthy, and throwing the problems his cuts will create at the feet of municipal councils.”
The changes take effect in January, including a move first announced in the provincial government’s spring budget to make municipalities pay 20 per cent of the cost of new daycare spaces — which had been fully funded by the province.
Carolyn Ferns with the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care said the change will be challenging for municipalities that agreed to expand child care in their communities on the understanding that Queen’s Park would pick up the full cost.
“It’s going to create a chill for any municipality thinking about expanding child care,” Ferns said. “If suddenly they can be on the hook for more of the cost — and with all the other budget pressures they are facing under this government — they are just not going to do it.” (Toronto Star)