City of Toronto launches petition demanding Ford government reverse course on cuts

Toronto Public Health

Toronto Public Health

The province has acknowledged that Toronto's public health unit will be funded at a lower ratio than other public health units but disputes the overall funding-cut numbers provided by city staff.

Six former Liberal ministers, three New Democrats and one Progressive Conservative have signed an open letter to Health Minister Christine Elliott, imploring her to stop what they call "drastic" cuts.

The ministers' letter refers to the SARS epidemic, and accuses the current government of putting lives at risk.

"Over the past month, notices issued by your government have indicated cuts to Toronto Public Health, child care, paramedics, and our share of the provincial gas tax dedicated to TTC upkeep and fix", his letter to Ford said.

"With the money that we are transferring, it will be $114 million this year to the City of Toronto, if they work on the basic foundations of what they are required to do like vaccinations and making sure that the breakfast programs continue I am sure that there will be enough there to provide those essential services", she said.

Ontario's government is waiting for a decision after fighting the tax in court. Municipalities from across the province have been clear that they can not make up the difference created by these cuts.

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"Everyone in Ontario should know where they go for their health care, who's going to look after immunization or functions of public health, and where they live, what is their municipality", Jaczek said. "Funding must be restored". Health has been seen as a non-partisan issue - something we all support.

"Today, you can add to that list an unprecedented joint letter from 10 former ministers of health, unprecedented because public health is not and should not be partisan", Cressy told a media conference at Queen's Park. This attack on public health has prompted us to break our silence.

The open letter was signed by former ministers of health from Tory, Liberal and NDP governments.

"Municipalities and district school boards now have the tools they need to find real savings and protect what matters most to the people of Ontario", Ford said in a speech Tuesday to a business audience in Ajax, Ont.

Elliott said concern about the amalgamations is premature, as the province will discuss proposed new boundaries with municipalities and public health units through technical working groups. They also stressed that they did not take the decision to write the letter lightly.

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