This Is The Impact That Ford's Controversial Health Cuts Could Have In Ontario
Ford's radical cuts have been called "dangerous" for Ontario.
Ontario is expected to be facing some major repercussions after yesterday's official announcement of Doug Ford's health cuts. Ontario is Canada's only province that doesn't fund 100 percent of health programs. Now, Doug Ford is putting responsibility on already underfunded local municipalities to pay for Ontario's Public Health Units, which cover several different public health needs.
So what does that mean, exactly? Well, it means that Ontario will see cuts to vaccination programs, disease prevention initiatives, student breakfast programs, water quality testing and food inspection. Toronto Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy has called this an attack on Ontarians.
At the moment, Ontario funds 100 percent of some health programs, and 75 percent of others. With yesterday's announcement, only 70 percent of public health costs will be the province of Ontario's responsibility.
Starting in January, local municipalities will be expected to cover 30 percent of their community's public health costs, shifting the responsibility away from the province. Toronto municipalities were originally proposed to pay 50 percent of costs but that was revised because there was too much backlash.
On top of that, research has shown that for ever dollar invested into public health, the health care system saves $16. Ford's strategy doesn't seem to have made its decisions based off of this research, though.
"If these cuts go ahead, many of our critical programs are at risk," Joe Cressy said to the CBC. "As is too often the case with this provincial government, they make announcements first and provide details later."
Tangible consequences to the cuts have not yet been conceivable because there are so few details about how all this is going to pan out. We know the sectors that are going to be hit, but the details of the future remain unclear.
For example, how many food inspection agents will we lose in Toronto? Will this make restaurants less safe to dine in? Will there be a declining number of daycares? Narcity has reached out to Toronto Public Health to answer these questions and will update the story once we hear back.
In the meantime, here are some public reactions:
"It's time for Mr. Ford to stop blaming his destructive decisions on Ontario's deficit and the previous government," said OPSEU First Vice-President Eduardo Almeida in a news release. "If Ontario's finances are so bad, this government wouldn't be giving $3.8 billion in tax handouts to the wealthy and largest corporations. That's fiscal mismanagement 101."
"They've offered 'transitional funding' to quell the backlash," said Almeida. "But it doesn't change the fact that they're ploughing through with their destructive cuts agenda and that people will suffer."