QUEEN'S PARK – Official Opposition NDP Health critic France Gélinas is pointing out that even with the Ford Conservatives' announcement of "increased" provincial funding for public health today, the government is still investing less in public health than before the pandemic. The delayed action comes after municipalities faced overwhelming backlogs during the pandemic, prompting an outcry from Public Health Units(PHUs).
"While I welcome a return to the previous 75% provincial 25% municipal cost-sharing formula, it still does not make up for the government's alarming 12.1% decrease in public health funding this year," Gélinas said. "What will it take for this government to acknowledge the dire needs of our communities? For years, the NDP has been calling for comprehensive, sustainable funding solutions to address these issues."
This decrease in funding disproportionately impacted vulnerable citizens, particularly those relying on harm reduction programs facilitated by Shelter, Support and Housing, and individuals seeking assistance with opioid addiction through supervised consumption programs. Cuts extended to frontline public health staff who play a pivotal role in keeping the healthcare system afloat.
"For far too long, public health has faced challenges due to underfunding and inconsistent support," added Gélinas. "Have the Conservatives learned nothing from the pandemic? Consistent, reliable investments in public health not only improve health outcomes for Ontarians but ultimately prevent problems—saving the system money. PHUs are trying to regain their footing. The government must prioritize restoring public health programs such as immunization, dental, nutrition, and school health programs. PHUs can't do this without the assurance of dedicated funding."
The Ontario NDP will continue to call upon the Ford Conservatives to commit to the province's public health system by ensuring public health receives adequate, stable investments.