Doug Ford to move ahead with cuts to municipalities
Published Monday, August 19, 2019 3:56PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 20, 2019 10:16AM EDT
Ontario is moving ahead with controversial funding cuts for public health and child care next year.
And it will mean more costs for local municipalities.
The Ontario Progressive Conservatives have tried to roll it out retroactively for this year, but backed off after complaints from municipal leaders.
However, at a conference for Ontario mayors and councillors Monday, Premier Doug Ford made it clear they are going forward with these funding cutbacks in 2020.
Starting January 1, all municipalities, including those in the north, will move to a 70-30 cost sharing funding mode.
Municipalities will also be paying 20% more as new child care spaces are created.
"We're providing transitional funding for your budgeting process in 2020 to help our municipal partners pursue greater fiscal sustainability and protect the future of public service, so you can continue to deliver important services people rely on every single day," said Ford.
Most of these changes are coming next year, while some cuts to funding for administrative child care costs are being delayed until 2021 and others to 2022.
Sudbury MPP Jamie West has crunched the numbers and says the new costs will amount to about $12-million for a city like Greater Sudbury.
"That's a huge amount of money. And when you're talking about ridings in the north, ridings anywhere where it's tight, just saying. Now you figure out how to cover $12-million as a municipality, your way of covering it is raised property taxes or reduced services," said West.
Sudbury's deputy mayor al sizer says it's a tough position to be in and some difficult decisions are going to have to be made.
In an e-mail to CTV News, Public Health Sudbury and Districts says it's carefully looking at the details that are emerging out of this conference.
Jamie McGarvey is the mayor of Parry Sound and president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. He says he will insist on local consultation:
"Consultations about public health and paramedic services need to be meaningful. Municipal property tax dollars help fund these services and municipal governments know these services best. We need to work together to make beneficial changes."
The Ford government tried to force these cuts retroactively this year, but backed off after municipal leaders complained that their 2019 budgets had already been passed.
Premier Doug Ford also announced funding for land ambulance services is going to increase by 4%.