The deep cuts delivered in the Ontario Budget on March 28 will provide very few benefits for citizens and will needlessly worsen income inequality in the province.
“By threatening government workers with legislated wage freezes, enacting deep cuts to valuable public services, and maintaining a corporate tax rate of 11.5 percent, Premier Dalton McGuinty and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan are clearly demonstrating that they do not understand the needs of ordinary Ontarians," says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley.
"A recent EKOS Research poll indicates that Canadians favour higher taxes for the rich, so why are Premier McGuinty and Minister Duncan continuing to reward the wealthy at the expense of working people? The government doesn't seem to grasp that Canadians and Ontarians oppose austerity policies that gut public services and undermine workers and their families.”
While the budget extends the current freeze on executive compensation within government agencies, it also freezes payments to Ontarians who rely on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works. These folks are among the most vulnerable people in the province.
Furthermore, the McGuinty "slash-and-burn" budget cancels existing and new infrastructure programs. “In neglecting to provide badly needed funding for infrastructure programs and recklessly cutting the public services that Ontarians rely on, this Budget will eliminate jobs and tax revenue," says Brother Hanley. "A concrete job creation strategy designed to bolster employment in this province would do much more for our economy than corporate tax giveaways and irresponsible cuts to public services."
UFCW Canada is combining its voice with the Ontario Health Coalition, the Ontario Federation of Labour, OPSEU, CAW, and other social justice and civil society organizations to speak out against the provincial government's deep cuts.