TORONTO – The Doug Ford Conservatives have truly revealed the hollowness of their ‘for the people’ slogan today with a budget that makes life harder for people by cutting jobs and public services, and threatening to reduce the already declining real incomes of workers delivering those front-line services, says Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario.
“This budget will make life more difficult for working families by leaving them with fewer public services, less take-home pay, and in some cases, lost jobs” Hahn said.
Hiding behind gimmicks like tailgate parties and licence plate slogans, the budget hits hard with jobs and service cuts, and when it comes to wages, it’s dishonest. “The Ontario Ministry of Labour’s own numbers show that both private sector and public sector wages have not kept up with inflation over the last decade. Public sector wages after inflation have fallen 4.7% since 2009, yet the Conservatives are blaming the deficit on the very people who have been watching their real income go down year after year”, says Hahn.
The budget impact for our communities will be far worse. CUPE Ontario estimates that by using publicly available Statistic Canada economic multipliers and comparing today’s medium-term expenses against the Auditor General’s pre-budget report on medium-term expenses, Ontario will lose 19,603 full time public sector jobs and 31,839 full time private sector jobs.
“People understand that every job cut in the public sector is really a service loss in the community”, Hahn says. “Service cuts do nothing to end hallway medicine, improve the quality of education, increase the level of care for seniors or improve social services for the most vulnerable”.
“Investment in affordable public child care is needed, but the truth about tax rebates is that they won’t create a single new child care space, and they do nothing to reverse course on the soaring cost of child care for working families”, Hahn says.
These cuts to services people rely on are being presented with the false claim that government spending is the main cause of the provincial deficit. Even the Ontario Chamber of Commerce is saying that now is not the time for austerity. The real problem is that the Tories are continuing a tradition started by the previous government of lowering taxes that cuts revenue and inevitably leads to service cuts.
“We have a revenue problem in Ontario, not a spending problem. Surely, at a time when corporate profits and incomes of the one per cent are at record levels, the richest people in this province and the most profitable corporations should pay their fair share of taxes so that services can be protected” Hahn said.
CUPE is Ontario’s largest union, with over 270,000 members across the province, delivering public services that Ontarians rely on every day.
For more information, please contact:
Caedmon Malowany, CUPE Communications, 204-801-9136