QUEEN’S PARK – Catherine Fife, NDP Finance Critic, slammed the Ford government for sitting on $44 billion in contingencies as the health care and other crises worsen in Ontario, revealed by the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) report.
The bombshell figure comes from the FAO’s 2022 Fall Economic and Budget Outlook. In it, the FAO is forecasting a $40 billion shortfall across all programs over the next six years, including:
- $23 billion shortfall in health
- $6 billion in education
- $4 billion in children, community, and social services
- $2.6 billion in postsecondary funding
- $2.3 billion in justice
“It is unconscionable for Doug Ford to make cuts in health, education, and social services,” said Fife. “Our hospitals are already at a breaking point. Education workers are accessing foodbanks. ODSP and OW recipients live in legislated poverty.
“Doug Ford needs to allocate these massive historic contingencies to prevent shortfalls in the services that Ontarians count on.”
Fife said covering the projected shortfalls on its own isn’t enough. The NDP is also calling on the government to invest more in health care, education, and social services instead of racking up $25.2 billion in surpluses over the next six years.
“The government should address the staffing crisis in health care by repealing its wage-capping Bill 124,” said Fife. “The government should bargain a fair deal with Ontario’s lowest-paid education workers instead of risking disruption and staffing crises in our schools. The government should double social assistance rates so that Ontarians aren’t forced to live in legislated poverty and rely on food banks.”