TORONTO, April 11, 2019 /CNW/ - Ford's first budget threatens future growth and prosperity with dramatic tightening of public service spending and lack of leadership on manufacturing. Conservatives have failed to reflect the priorities of working families in Ontario," said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. "Essentially freezing government spending on education, health and social services won't go unnoticed in public services that are already underfunded and in dire need of core funding."
New hospital and home care spending included in Budget 2019 falls far short of need. With Bill 74 opening the door to privatization, Unifor is deeply concerned that new funding could end up in corporate pockets as Conservatives' Ontario Health "Super Agency" is set to throw open the doors to privatization.
In Ontario's manufacturing sector, workers have demanded leadership from the provincial government. More than 100,000 Ontarians work in the automotive industry, and tens of thousands of jobs are currently threatened by closure announcements and work reductions.
"Ford has made a serious misstep by refusing to anchor new investment in the next generation of manufacturing. His so-called plan for auto is an embarrassing retreat," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "License plate branding and tailgate parties won't help manufacturing workers rebuild threatened industries. The Conservatives are leaving workers at GM and Chrysler, and in communities across Ontario out to dry by not presenting a competitive, clear strategy for manufacturing."
Additionally, Unifor has advocated for investments to increase the number of affordable, not-for profit childcare spaces. The union stresses that the Conservatives' childcare tax credit will fail to control rising costs or create new spaces.
"This budget highlights piecemeal programs to distract from a lack of investment in public services and a demonstrated history of attacking workers and students' rights," continued Rizvi. "Workers are not fooled, and we will not be divided. We've shown this government that we will fight for respect and for a better future, and that struggle continues."
Recent transit announcements in the GTA leave open questions on the provinces' procurement methods. Unifor has advocated for the provincial government to leverage infrastructure spending through a "Buy Ontario" strategy.
The union also encourages the Conservative government to follow-through with an election promise of restoring Ontario Northlander rail services to northern communities.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: Unifor Communications National Representative Sarah McCue at [email protected] or at 416-458-3307 (cell)