Official Opposition vows to keep fighting for investments as Conservatives sit on billions
QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario’s NDP is vowing to keep fighting for urgent investments in health care and education, as well as cost of living help, as Doug Ford puts forward a Fall Economic Statement that bakes in a worsening hospitals crisis and leaves families to struggle with skyrocketing bills.
There is not a single new penny in the government’s economic update for nurses and health care workers as a staffing crisis shakes Ontario’s hospitals. The Financial Accountability Office (FAO) confirmed today that the government will spend around $400 million less than needed in education this year.
“It’s hard to fathom the health care crisis getting even worse,” said Ontario NDP Finance critic Catherine Fife. “We have seen cancelled surgeries, ER closures, long waits in pain, and now not enough pediatric ICU beds for kids sick enough to require intensive care. It’s disturbing that none of this has moved Doug Ford to make the investments needed to shore up our public hospitals.
“Instead of acknowledging the harm holding back the wages of nurses has caused, and scrapping Bill 124 to fix it, the Conservatives are poised to create a staffing crisis in schools by holding back wages there, too. It’s even more shocking that Ford refuses to spend in critical areas like public health care and education when he’s sitting on and socking away billions of dollars.”
The government’s economic update comes on the heels of a multi-billion-dollar surplus and doesn’t close the multi-billion-dollar spending shortfall projected by the FAO in the coming years. That includes shortfalls of around $6.2 billion in health, $1 billion in education, and $360 million in post-secondary education through 2024-25.
Fife said the NDP will keep fighting for investments in public health care and education, as well as action to tackle the skyrocketing cost of living.
“Ontarians should be able to count on high-quality health care and education, and it takes investments to make that possible,” said Fife. “Not only do we need action to protect our precious public services, but we need action to help people keep up with the bills. There’s plenty we can do to tackle the crushing cost of living — from helping people reduce their heating bills to making investments in affordable housing and restoring and expanding rent control.”
Instead of addressing the housing affordability crisis, the government has downgraded its projections for housing starts in the coming years.