The Ford government ends 2019 with a lesson in the limits of changing the tone

OPINION: After a bruising spring and summer, the Tories tried to end their year on a calmer, respectful tone — and then had their plans ruined by stubborn facts

Banner at protest reads "No cuts to education"

Teachers picket in Guelph earlier this month, demonstrating the limits of a change in tone from the Ford government. (Stephen C. Host/CP)

If we’re honest, the first reaction of most Torontonians watching Premier Doug Ford cancel a light-rail project in Hamilton is very likely, “Hey, at least it’s not us.” Construction continues on Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown project, and even the Finch West LRT line is still nominally proceeding. Light-rail plans in other cities, like Ottawa, Waterloo, and Mississauga are also either operating or in progress. But Ford has an extensive record of opposing light-rail transit, and he found in Hamilton a project that he could kill without incurring prohibitive penalties (financial or political), so its fate was always uncertain under this government.

Formally, the Tories say the Hamilton LRT was halted because of spiraling costs that the previous Liberal government knew about and concealed from the public. This wouldn’t be a hard claim to prove, given the decidedly uneven record the Liberals had on transit planning. So it’s notable that the government isn’t trying to prove it: they say the decision is based on a third-party assessment (that is, not done by Metrolinx or Infrastructure Ontario, the agencies responsible for executing these kinds of things) that they aren’t sharing with the public. So we can’t scrutinize its math, its assumptions, or its conclusions.

It’s an odd ending to a very long year for the Tories. They’ve been on the backfoot for most of the last 12 months, starting in January when the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark announced the province was abandoning a controversial section of Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act. The section in question would have allowed municipalities to bypass numerous environmental protection laws including the Greenbelt Act. Things got worse with the presentation of the spring budget, which included retroactive cuts to municipal transfers that were only announced after the fiscal year had already begun, and specifically targeted Toronto for pain. Once again, the government was eventually forced to back down. Amidst all that was the constellation of patronage scandals the government endured before Ford fired his chief of staff and shuffled his cabinet.

Things were quieter after the cabinet shuffle, in part because of the prolonged witness protection program the Tories (both provincially and federally) put the premier in while Andrew Scheer tried to win the October federal election. Scheer’s loss was, for a few minutes, Ford’s gain as the premier tried to portray himself as the new champion of national unity.

For a brief time, Queen’s Park observers (including this one) were talking about “a change of tone” from the premier’s office: no longer was the government going out to find new fights to start wherever it could. Our own Steve Paikin noted the premier’s good grace when he unveiled the official portrait of his predecessor Kathleen Wynne earlier this month. While the change in tone was real enough, the news of the last few weeks illustrates the limits to what tone can do.

The government has to do real things and make real choices, and despite what political spin doctors tell themselves to justify their invoices, tone can’t hide the real impacts of government decisions. The Hamilton LRT is one example of this: Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney can try to convince Steeltowners that she’s sad about the unfortunate need to find budget savings in Hamilton’s transit plan, but numerous groups and businesses had started to plan their futures around an LRT that isn’t going to be built now. No number of cleverly worded press releases is going to change that.

The government has the same problem on two other big files they’ve been trying to handle at the end of the year: education and autism. There are two very different contexts, and two different antagonists for the government — teachers’ unions and the parents of children with autism. And the nature of each argument is different: the unions are using the legal tools they have to pressure the government, while parents are using more informal but no-less-effective methods.

But in both cases, the government faces the same basic problem. The ministers responsible for these files — Stephen Lecce and Todd Smith, respectively — are decent enough communicators and haven’t been outrageously inflammatory in negotiations, but this is a real disagreement over the facts of public policy: advocates want the government to spend more money, and the Tories really, really don’t want to. Spin and tone aren’t going to change the facts, which suggests we haven’t seen the last case of parents bursting into tears at government announcements, like we did this week.

So 2019 ends with the Tories looking at a bunch of regrets from the past year and few good options in the year ahead. Meanwhile, polls rate Ford as the least popular premier in the countryunloved even by other conservatives, and the party overall is struggling against even the leaderless Liberals. If Progressive Conservative MPPs didn’t love this year, they may not love what 2020 has in store for them. SOURCE

Nation Rise Wind Farm Assessing Legal Action Following the Government of Ontario’s Unprecedented Decision to Revoke its Renewable Energy Approval

Image result for Nation Rise Wind Farm Renewable Energy

TORONTO, Dec. 09, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — EDP Renewables Canada Ltd. (EDPR) strongly objects to the Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks’ recent decision purportedly to revoke its Nation Rise Wind Farm’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA) and is now assessing all potential legal actions. This unprecedented decision means the REA that was issued by the Minister’s own staff, defended by Ministry legal counsel and subsequently ratified by the Environmental Review Tribunal (Tribunal) is no longer in effect. As a result, EDPR has been forced to halt all construction activities.

The Minister’s decision effectively overturned previous findings of both experts and the Tribunal,  which had both concluded based on significant investigation, expert evidence, and due diligence, that the project has no material adverse effects on the natural environment. Decisions of this nature should be based on science and law, yet there was no expert testimony or evidence presented at the Tribunal or to the Minister that would provide a reasonable rationale for the Minister’s decision. Instead, the Minister based his decision upon an issue the appellant did not raise even once in its appeal submission. The decision also contradicts scientific and expert  findings and appears to exceed the Minister’s legal jurisdiction under the Environmental Protection Act.

The Nation Rise Wind Farm is a 29-wind turbine, 100-megawatt wind energy project in the Municipality of North Stormont within the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry in eastern Ontario, Canada. Nation Rise began construction in May 2019 and construction is significantly advanced with numerous wind turbines already fully erected. The project was competitively procured under the IESO Large Renewable Procurement and will produce zero emission electricity.

Nation Rise also represents a very significant investment for the local and provincial economy. It has created over 230 local construction jobs to date and will create around 10 permanent direct local jobs and numerous indirect jobs during operation. Further, the project will inject more than $45 million over 30 years into the local community through municipal taxes, a community benefit fund, charitable contributions and landowner payments.

While EDPR is wholly perplexed by this unfounded decision on the part of the Minister, it is prepared to pursue all legal courses of action in response and fully trusts the Canadian justice system as a means of positioning EDPR to resume the construction activities at Nation Rise Wind Farm. SOURCE

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Minister revokes approval for Nation Rise Wind Farm project; harm to bats key point
Nation Rise approval revoked by Environment minister to protect endangered bats; developer threatening legal action

Ontario’s auditor general gives the Tories’ climate plan a failing grade

ANALYSIS: Ontario’s auditor general says the Tory climate-change plan assumes imaginary reductions — and still won’t meet the province’s own targets

Bonnie Lysyk
This year’s annual report from Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk was released Wednesday at Queen’s Park. (Nathan Denette/CP)

The Tories haven’t actually had a lot of good days on the climate file recently, but the problems they’re facing today are entirely of their own making. It was the Progressive Conservative government that abolished the position of the environmental commissioner and folded that office into the auditor general’s. If the Tories thought that move would defang some of their critics, this year’s annual report from Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, released Wednesday, has proved them wrong.

In its substantial investigation into the “made in Ontario” climate-change plan, announced last year, Lysyk’s office found that the government has substantially overestimated the benefits of its climate policies and (bizarrely, given that this is an allegedly penny-pinching leadership) failed to count any of the broader economic costs. It’s also been crediting itself with the benefits of policies it had already cancelled by the time the climate plan went to press — for example, it’s assumed a massive uptake in electric-vehicle purchases, even though cancelling EV incentives was among the government’s first orders of business. SOURCE

‘Canada will benefit from climate change’: comments from Ford appointee draw fire

Joe Oliver, the chair of Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, Joe Oliver, seen here in 2015, wrote that Canada has “enormous agricultural potential if the land warms up” and “let’s not ignore the greater personal comfort of living in a more hospitable climate.”

The agency that operates Ontario’s electricity system is distancing itself from controversial climate-change comments made by its chair, Joe Oliver, a former federal finance minister appointed to the board last spring by Premier Doug Ford’s government.

Concerns about how seriously the environmental challenge is viewed by the province grew Monday as opposition parties — who last week took aim at Energy Minister Greg Rickford for quoting from a website denying the scientific consensus on climate change — flagged remarks from Oliver.

Oliver, 79, leads the board of the Independent Electricity System Operator, which runs day-to-day needs of the power grid and plans for its future needs. The agency, for example, is handling compensation for developers of more than 750 renewable energy contracts cancelled by the Ford government in July 2018.

In a commentary written for the National Post on August 15 and headlined “Canada will benefit from climate change,” Oliver referred to a study on its impact by Moody’s, a U.S. business and financial services company, and wrote the country has “enormous agricultural potential if the land warms up” and “let’s not ignore the greater personal comfort of living in a more hospitable climate.”

He also argued Canada is responsible for just 1.6 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and thus “cannot achieve a measurable impact on global temperatures.”

The New Democrats and Green party said Oliver’s remarks are troublesome amid escalating warnings about climate change from the scientific community and the United Nations, which has appointed former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney its special envoy on climate.

“To suggest, somehow, that Canada is going to benefit from global warming is the height of insanity. And it is a very, very dangerous opinion to have,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “If he was being flip, shame on him, because this is nothing to joke about.”

The Independent Electricity System Operator said it “has no comment on personal views expressed by Mr. Oliver” and noted “addressing non-traditional threats to grid reliability such as climate change and cyber-attacks is part of the IESO’s corporate strategy to ensure the reliability of Ontario’s electricity system.” SOURCE

Young Ontarians launch lawsuit against province after Ford government scales back emissions targets

Ontario cancelled cap-and-trade program, challenging carbon tax imposed by Ottawa


Shaelyn Wabegijig, right, is among the seven young people who are applicants in the lawsuit. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

A group of young Ontarians is suing the province over what they say is climate change inaction, arguing that the Ford government has violated their charter rights by softening emissions reduction targets.

The group claims that recent policy changes “will lead to widespread illness and death,” an alleged violation of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which promises protection for life, liberty and security of the person.

They are calling on the Ontario government to commit to more ambitious emission reductions with the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5 C, a key target set out in the United Nations’ Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Doug Ford is not doing enough to protect our future and it’s just unacceptable,” said Sophia Mathur, a 12-year-old from Sudbury and one of seven applicants taking part.

The claims in the lawsuit have not been proven in court.

“I just want to live a normal life in the future; I shouldn’t have to be doing this, but adults aren’t doing a good job,” she told CBC News.

“I’m afraid that so many species that I love will go extinct,” added Zoe Keary-Matzner, 13, from Toronto. “And that children in the future won’t be able to enjoy nature the same way I do.”

The applicants, ranging from age 12 to 24, are represented by Stockwoods LLP and Ecojustice, a group that specializes in public interest lawsuits in the name of environmental protection.

Their challenge is part of a growing trend in which young people across the globe are suing governments over perceived inaction on climate change.

Sophia Mathur, left, and Zoe Keary-Matzner are among seven young Ontarians who say the Ford government’s climate strategy is jeopardizing their future. (CBC)

Earlier this year, more than a dozen young Canadians launched a similar lawsuit against the federal government. Similar legal challenges have gone to courts in the U.S. and the Netherlands, with varying degrees of success.

This is the first lawsuit filed against a Canadian province over climate inaction.

“Any government that is failing to address the climate emergency in a meaningful way can expect to face litigation of this nature,” said Alan Andrews, climate director at Ecojustice.


Former Environment Minister Rod Phillips oversaw the cancellation of Ontario’s cap-and-trade program and the introduction of lower emissions targets. (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press)

PCs roll back greenhouse gas targets

The group is focusing its lawsuit on the Ford government’s decision to scale back emission targets set by the Liberals in 2015.

The previous plan called for a 37-per-cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The reduction target climbed to 80 per cent by 2050.

Under the Progressive Conservatives, Ontario now plans to reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. There is no longer a 2050 target.

The PCs have also repealed a cap-and-trade agreement that gave companies incentives to reduce carbon emissions. They are also in the process of challenging a carbon tax imposed by Ottawa to take its place.

Rod Phillips, who served as Ontario’s environment minister when the changes were made, said the previous targets and restrictions were ineffective and “killing jobs” in the province.

The Ford government says it plans to leverage Ontario’s private sector to develop green technology, and that its new “made in Ontario” climate strategy will keep the province on track to meet Paris Agreement warming targets

A precedent for success?

The young people behind the lawsuit say the new approach ignores the increasing urgency of climate change.

“People are very focused on other things; on making money, focusing on the economy, that they don’t think about their connection to mother earth,” said applicant Shaelyn Wabegijig, 22.

Wabegijig, 22, says she’s concerned about the preservation of clean air and water if she has children in the future. (CBC)

Wabegijig, who grew up at Rama First Nation near Orillia, said she’s concerned about having children if the effects of climate change continue to worsen.

While the result of the challenge is not yet decided, Ecojustice recently scored a mild victory against the province over the cancellation of the cap-and-trade program.

In a split decision, a three judge panel determined the Ford government broke the law by scrapping the program without public consultations, although the ruling does not compel the province to revive the program.

Mathur said Ford would be wise to take their challenge seriously.

“I hope he’s scared,” she said. SOURCE

 

How Doug Ford’s Tories set the table for costly failure in teachers’ talks

Teachers, parents and students gather outside of Tory MPP Sam Oosterhoff's Niagara office on Nov. 14, 2019 to protest the Ontario government’s cuts to education. The cuts could come back to bite the government, Martin Regg Cohn writes.

The table is set for teachers’ bargaining. But it is set to blow up, booby-trapped by government blunderbuss.

Doug Ford won’t be the first premier to be entangled by teachers’ unions. But he will prove to be the most myopic, oblivious to the lessons of recent history and the author of his own misfortune — despite enjoying the good fortune of good economic times.

This month, as negotiations reached their culminations with the major teachers’ unions, the Progressive Conservative government conveniently passed into law a 1 per cent ceiling on the outcome. Put another way, it wants the talks over before they truly begin.

It is not just a formula for unfairness, but a recipe for failure. To understand why Ford’s bullying will boomerang, let us go back in time.

Remember Bob Rae’s NDP government? New Democrats thought they could coax teachers into sharing the pain of tough economic times with a “social contract” — which union leaders burned at the stake (big mistake).

From its ashes arose the “common sense revolution” of Mike Harris that didn’t quite decapitate its victims, as Robespierre’s revolutionaries once did, merely cut teachers off at the knees. It was the undoing of the Harris PCs.

After that scorched earth policy, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals tried giving teachers what they wanted, including a handsome 12 per cent from 2008 to 2012. But when he asked for a freeze amid an economic crisis, he got the same cold shoulder that Rae received two decades earlier.

That’s when history was made. Joining hands with the opposition Tories, McGuinty’s minority government pre-emptively legislated restrictions on their collective bargaining rights. The Liberals won the day only to lose years later when the courts reinforced Charter rights for free collective bargaining unimpeded by political meddling.

His successor as premier, Kathleen Wynne, tried to make amends by giving teachers what they wanted ahead of the 2018 election. The elementary teachers’ union repaid that political debt by promptly endorsing the NDP (which didn’t stop Ford’s Tories from triumphing).

Which takes us to today, and back to the future. Like Harris before him — and without learning the lessons of McGuinty after that — our current premier has set the stage for confrontation.

With a difference. In their defence, the Liberals in 2012, like the PCs and NDP in the 1990s, were facing undeniable constraints — a recession, a runaway budget, and an economic crisis.

Today’s Tories, not so much. To be sure, there is a debt overhang, but the deficit figures are dramatically overstated — literally and figuratively speaking:

A $15 billion deficit trumpeted by Ford proved to be a fiction of his fertile imagination — disputed even by the auditor general, and disproven by his finance minister (who restated the deficit at $7.4 billion for the last fiscal year). A scary deficit helps set the context for cuts, but an overstated deficit only undercuts the case.

An inflated deficit devalues the currency of public finances and undermines the government’s public credibility. Not merely with teachers, but parents and voters (not to mention students).

Pretending that we face an economic emergency — as the premier did earlier this year with dark talk of a “carbon tax recession” — is not only irresponsible but unsupportable. The government’s own spring budget and fall update show steady economic growth today continuing through the next two years, with unemployment at the lowest level in decades.

So by what possible metric — deficit, economic or employment — do the Tories justify a harsh crackdown against teachers and other public servants, who faced wage austerity in 2012 amid the last (genuine) economic downturn? The only metric that matters is self-interest

During the recent federal election campaign, Ford fell on his sword to avoid school closures by CUPE support staff — ostensibly to spare students any hardship, but more obviously to shield his fellow Tories on the campaign trail from any fallout. Having conjured up a midcampaign truce with CUPE, the Tories are now gunning for a post-election confrontation with the remaining teachers’ unions.

It is not just unfair and unjust, it is politically injudicious. And almost certainly unlawful.

How does this government explain its phoney war to teachers and students, parents and voters, all of whom will pay the price for its miscalculations? Tell it to a judge. SOURCE

RELATED:

Teachers tell Ford to stop hurting the children

Environmentalists unimpressed by Ontario plan to expand fines for polluters


Left to right: Prabmeet Sarkaria, small-business minister; Jeff Yurek, environment minister; Andrea Khanjin, parliamentary assistant; and Jennifer Innis, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority chairwoman, at Tommy Thompson Park on Oct. 31, 2019.

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government will expand the use of fines for polluters who break environmental laws, its environment minister said Thursday.

But that claim was immediately questioned by an environmental group, which said the proposal will make it cheaper to pollute in the province.

The proposed changes will introduce, expand or clarify the ministry’s authority to fine companies and individuals under four different laws related to pesticide use and protection of water, according to a statement from the government.

“In essence, the lawbreakers are paying for the environmental improvements in our province,” Jeff Yurek, provincial minister of the environment, conservation and parks, told reporters at a media event.

Fines issued for violations of these laws have risen some $1.6 million since 2010 and that could be expected to increase to between $3 million and $5 million a year, which would then be invested in green projects, Yurek said.

Environmentalists aren’t buying it.

Ontario’s environment minister says the Ford government is going after polluters, proposing to expand the use of fines. An environmental group says the plan will make it easier and cheaper to spoil the air, water and land. @5thEstate reports.

“The proposal in Schedule 9 of Bill 132 to eliminate daily fines and cap total fines will make it easier and cheaper for industry in Ontario to illegally dump sewage in our water, use toxic pesticides and pollute the air,” the environmental group said in a statement. “Under the Water Resources Act, for example, the maximum fine used to be $100,000 per day. In Bill 132, the proposal is for it to be a maximum of $200,000 per contravention.”

In other words, right now, if a company illegally discards pollutants into a water source over a number of days, it could be liable for a $100,000 fine every day it pollutes, whereas under the new rules — if they pass — the company would face a one-time fine of $200,000.

“They’re saying they’re increasing the fines, but they’re not,” said Keith Brooks, programs director at Environmental Defence. “These fines used to be maximum daily amounts, and now they’re maximum per contravention.”

The changes are part of the Ford government’s omnibus Bill 132 aimed at reducing regulatory burden across government. They will affect statutes including the Nutrient Management Act, Ontario Water Resources Act, Pesticides Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. MORE

Sadness for green energy supporters as dismantling begins on turbine project


Cranes with workers from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland get started on the dismantling of one of the completed turbines involved in the WPD White Pines wind project Tuesday morning in Milford. PHOTO: BROCK ORMOND/INQUINTE.CA

Supporters of the WPD White Pines wind turbine project are trying to keep a positive mindset despite the start of decomissioning Tuesday morning on Royal Road in Milford.

Around 50 people held a peaceful demonstration in front of one of the nine turbines erected in South Marysburgh and Athol wards in Prince Edward County as cranes rolled in to start the dismantling of four-completed and five-partially-completed turbines.

Local resident and green energy supporter Jen Ackerman said while the group assembled was a little smaller than she’d hoped, they were still strong in getting across an important message “loud and clear” of being mindful of children’s future.

Ackerman, who has a 14-year old son, said the planet is there to inherit for younger people, children and teens in particular, and the provincial government’s choice to order the deconstruction of these turbines worries her as a mother.

“(My son) is going to be basically carrying this load. It’s not his fault and he’s the one who’s going to suffer,” she said.

“I think that’s totally selfish of adults that are supposed to be responsible for their constituents and what’s best for them, that they would do this to kids like him. They’re basically putting the nail in the coffin for the planet.”

Ackerman added she believes there will be no other choice for the future provincial government to go to renewable energy once there’s no more fossil fuels and nuclear energy left to burn, which means there’s hope still visible for green energy supporters.

Image result for ontario wind farm
Bruce Peninsula

“In other parts of Canada, they’re building wind farms. In other parts of Ontario, they’re building wind farms. I really do feel that one day, once we get rid of the politicians that we have now, of course there will be wind.”

Ackerman has one turbine on her property and an access road which leads to two more, which means she has a financial stake in the project.

However, she reiterated that her concerns are strictly environmental and that she and other supporters weren’t trying to shame people who are against green energy.

“We want to see green energy. be a contributor to the right solutions and see us go forward,” Ackerman explained.

Image result for blanding's turtle“People who are against it, they have their own reasons, but we can’t understand them. If you look around, there’s no Blanding’s Turtles here, there never has been and never will be and I’ve never seen birds fly over the turbines. All of the things that (the provincial government) has been saying and the things they’ve used against us has been proven untrue.”

Many groups joined the province in opposing the turbines, including the Prince Edward County municipal government, and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC).

Green energy supporter Bill White said he feels that the current government was “totally insensitive” to climate change and hopes that the next one will be more in tune to the growing issue.

“It’s accepted right across Canada, that everybody is getting on board with the seriousness of climate change. The change in the last year (among the population) has been tremendous.”

White adds that when the government and local objectors to the turbine project came together to cancel it last year, climate change was not part of the discussions, but now more information and awareness is coming out about it.

“If that effort started now, it would be a different result.”

The first phase of the project involves a crane arriving on-site and lowering the towers to the ground, and the county says the road users agreement it has with the company remains in effect.

The work is expected to continue for several weeks until the end of January.

The second phase of the decommissioning, which is expected to begin in April 2020, consists of removing and remediating infrastructure installed for the project.

The turbines can take about three years to be taken down, according to Ackerman and the cost of the deconstruction work is about $100 million.

When asked for a municipal point of view on the subject on Monday, Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson said council and the municipality can only go as far as ensuring that the County’s road use agreement with WPD remains in force.

Ferguson explained the County is taking steps to help make the environment better that doesn’t require wind turbines, including installing solar panels and re-establishing the Environmental Advisory Committee, in the midst of a climate emergency.

“We’re certainly cognizant of the things we have to do to minimize the impact on the environment municipally,” he said. “We’ve also been trying to minimize single-use plastics around Shire Hall. We’re very concious of it, but wind turbines are not going to be part of that equation, because of the impact they have on the environment and the natural habitat that they interfere with.”

To read past stories on the climate crisis and the White Pines project, click herehere and here.

SOURCE

Ferguson explained the County is taking steps to help make the environment better that doesn’t require wind turbines, including installing solar panels and re-establishing the Environmental Advisory Committee, in the midst of a climate emergency.

“We’re certainly cognizant of the things we have to do to minimize the impact on the environment municipally,” he said. “We’ve also been trying to minimize single-use plastics around Shire Hall. We’re very concious of it, but wind turbines are not going to be part of that equation, because of the impact they have on the environment and the natural habitat that they interfere with.”

To read past stories on the climate crisis and the White Pines project, click herehere and here.

Ford Government Slashes Toronto Public Health Funding By $1 Billion

The cuts will take place over the next 10 years and will touch all of Ontario’s health units, a Toronto city councillor says.

Image result for The cuts will take place over the next 10 years and will touch all of Ontario's health units, a Toronto city councillor says.

TORONTO — The chairman of Toronto’s board of health says the province has notified health units across Ontario their funding will be cut immediately as the government makes changes to a cost-sharing arrangement with municipalities.

Joe Cressy — who is also a Toronto city councillor — says the cuts will mean Toronto Public Health will lose $1 billion in funding over the next decade and all of Ontario’s health units will be impacted by the move.

The Ministry of Health delivered the news Thursday afternoon in a conference call with public health units ahead of the long weekend, he said.

Cressy said the long list of affected programs includes disease prevention, water quality testing, and immunization monitoring and surveillance.

Joe Cressy @joe_cressy

Today, late in the afternoon on the day before a long weekend, the Provincial Government announced that they are cutting $1 billion to Toronto Public Health over the next 10 years, effective immediately. This announcement is callous, and it is short-sighted. Full statement here:

View image on Twitter

We don’t need to bulldoze their homes to build ours.

We’re in the midst of an extinction crisis that could kill off 1 million species from the planet.

We all deserve a place to call home, including Ontario’s vulnerable wildlife.

This is about bees, butterflies and other pollinators at the foundation of our food system.

This is about wolves, caribou and foxes that are part of our rich Canadian identity.

This is about saving habitat for plants and animals struggling to adapt to climate change.

Bill 108 hands over the keys to big developers.
Expensive subdivisions will chew up more wildlife habitat without making homes any cheaper.

But there’s a better way to grow our communities:

  • Approving more tiny and laneway homes, granny and secondary suites;
  • Incentivizing mid-rise buildings that keep the feel of a neighbourhood
  • Converting abandoned urban brownfield sites into affordable housing
  • Building housing in the Whitebelt – the area within the GTHA already zoned for development

Take Action: tweet, email or phone them to ask them to VOTE NO on Bill 108.  Contact you MPP