Here’s everything the Doug Ford government cut in its first year in office


File photo of Doug Ford by Alex Tétreault

Before Ontario Premier Doug Ford was elected last June, he made an array of ambitious campaign promises. He also vowed to create a “government for the people” that would rein in spending.

Friday marks a year since the Progressive Conservatives were elected and began their budget cuts. In April, Ford’s government laid out its plan to eliminate an $11.7-billion deficit from their budget, titled “Protecting What Matters Most”. That phrase has been used repeatedly to justify their cuts, including reductions in the budgets of 13 ministries, as well as a blueprint of shrinkage across public sectors and programs — impacting everything from trees to libraries to financial assistance for victims of crime.

In commenting on the government’s decision to adjourn till Oct. 28, one week after the federal election, Conservative house leader Todd Smith said the PC government has “achieved so much.”

The Ontario premier agreed, adding recently that his government was “moving at lightning speed.”

Here’s a list of everything the Ford government has cut in its first year in office:

Environment

  • Cancelled Cap and Trade
  • Ended electric and hydrogen vehicle incentive program
  • Cut 700+ green energy projects
  • Shut down White Pines Wind Project
  • Proposed cuts to protections of species at-risk
  • Removed electric vehicle chargers from GO station parking lots
  • Slashed 50 per cent of flood management funds given to conservation authorities
  • Eliminated funding for 50 Million Tree Program
  • Ended Drive Clean, a mandatory biannual emissions test program for vehicles and light-duty trucks more than seven years old
  • Axed the Green Ontario Fund, which provided funds through cap and trade to help make properties more energy-efficient

Health

  • Cancelled free prescription medication given to those under 25 through the Pharmacare program
  • Cancelled the opening of new overdose prevention sites
  • Cut the Liberals’ promised $2.1 billion over four years for new mental health funding to $1.9 billion over 10 years
  • Revoked current and future funding for the College of Midwives of Ontario
  • Dissolved Local Health Integration Networks and merged them under one new umbrella body called Ontario Health
  • Slashed the number of paramedic service providers from 59 to 10
  • Proposed ending OHIP’s medical emergency coverage for Ontarians travelling outside the country
  • Planned to cut Toronto Public Health by $1 billion over the next 10 years. That translates into cuts in school breakfast programs, daycare and restaurant inspections, water-quality testing, pre- and postnatal care for single mothers, and detection of emerging threats to public health. (Reversed retroactive acts; future cuts remain)
  • Scrapped funding for three supervised drug-use sites (two in Toronto, one in Ottawa)
  • Trimmed $1 million in funding from Leave the Pack Behind, an agency that helps young people quit smoking

Education

  • Rolled back sex-ed curriculum
  • Removed $100-million budget for school repairs (due to cancellation of cap and trade)
  • Cancelled Ontario’s first planned French-language university
  • Removed $25 million from the Education Programs-Other (EPO) Fund, which will limit grants available for school programs like after-school jobs for youth in low-income neighbourhoods; tutors in classrooms; leadership programs for racialized students; daily physical activity for elementary students and more
  • Dropped financial assistance for college and university students by more than $300 million
  • Removed free tuition for low-income students
  • Cut tuition fees by 10 per cent
  • Scrapped over $300 million in funding for three satellite university campuses
  • Increased class sizes, potentially resulting in over 3,400 lost teaching jobs over next four years
  • Cancelled three summer curriculum-writing sessions, including one that was mandated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and two others relating to American Sign Language and Indigenous languages for kindergarten students
  • Shutdown the Harmony Movement, which provides diversity, equity, and inclusion education
  • Scrapped the Ontario College of Trades

Legislative positions

  • Privatization Officer
  • Chief Scientist
  • Investment Officer
  • Environmental Commissioner’s Office
  • Ontario Child Advocate
  • French Language Commissioner
  • Voluntary buyouts offered to thousands of Ontario public service workers
The Big Story Podcast@thebigstoryfpn

“It’s happening all at once and it’s happening without clarity.” Are the cuts to services in Ontario’s new budget more severe than voters expected? Or is Ford’s government just fulfilling their promise to balance the budget? @fatimabsyed explains. https://thebigstorypodcast.ca/2019/04/29/is-doug-ford-cutting-ontario-to-the-bone-or-is-this-what-voters-signed-up-for/ 

Is Doug Ford cutting Ontario to the bone? Or is this what voters signed up for? – The Big Story

There has been news of cuts to various services, ministries and program funding nearly every single day since the Ford’s PC government dropped the Ontario budget two weeks ago, and the list is…

thebigstorypodcast.ca

  • Reduced legal aid by 30 per cent
  • Disbanded Anti-Racism Directorate
  • Withheld $14.8 million in promised funding from existing and new sexual assault centres
  • Dissolved Ontario’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, the tribunal that has awarded financial assistance to crime victims since 1971, as well as the law that provides financial aid to the victims of violent crime

Municipal affairs

  • Cut Toronto City Council in half
  • Planned to cut funds to repair social housing
  • Asked municipalities and school boards to find 4 per cent in “efficiencies” (i.e., cuts) to services

Arts, culture and tourism

  • Retroactively slashed $5 million from the Ontario Arts Council
  • Cancelled the Indigenous Culture Fund
  • Dropped grants for the Ontario Music Fund by more than 50 per cent
  • Reduced funding to regional tourism organizations by $17.5 million
  • Announced the termination of the Beer Store contract, jeopardizing 7,000 jobs
  • Cut $9.5 million from Tourism Toronto (25 per cent of funding) and $3.4 million from Ottawa Tourism

Social services

  • Cut $1 billion from social services across the board
  • Scrapped Basic Income Pilot Project
  • Cancelled $1 increase minimum wage
  • Cut Workplace Safety Insurance Board payments to injured workers by 30 per cent
  • Killed Bill C-148, which provided part-time workers the same pay as full-time workers, guaranteed 10 days off (2 days paid) and more
  • Removed rent control for new units
  • Severed library services funding in half
  • Ended the Roundtable on Violence Against Women
  • Slashed $84.5 million funding for children and at-risk youth, including children’s aid societies
  • Cut $15 million from the Ontario Trillium Foundation

Research

  • Cut funding to MaRS Discovery District
  • Eliminated funding for public policy think tanks such as the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre, which conducted research on Ontario’s role in Canada and the world, as well as the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, launched under former PC premier Mike Harris
  • Cut funding to two artificial intelligence institutes by $24 million
  • Cancelled a technology accelerators program of $9.5 million, a college-based applied research projects worth $6.7 million; $5 million in funding to the Institute for Quantum Computing; $1.5 million in funding to the Lazaridis Institute, and $750,000 for bioindustrial innovation.
  • Pared $5 million in funding for stem cell research
  • Eliminated funding for Gambling Research Exchange Ontario
  • Cut all funding for Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation, a pilot program led by Toronto’s Ryerson University to collate research on employment and training

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on June 7, 2019 at 5:17 p.m. EST to include additional cuts.

SOURCE

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