Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 25, 2008 16:57 ET

Ontario Budget 2008

More Disappointment for Working Families

Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(Marketwire - March 25, 2008) - Today the Liberal government gave up on Ontario's manufacturing sector. After witnessing the loss of 200,000 manufacturing jobs in the province over the past four years, Dalton McGuinty continues to turn his back on struggling families by failing to adequately address the jobs crisis. Today's budget proposes only $37 million for the manufacturing and resource sectors combined in 2008-09.

It is clear that this government has no ideas on how to reverse the crisis in manufacturing and forestry, or ideas on how to work toward the development of green technology and innovation. The most significant investment in jobs proposed in this budget is money for re-training that will help only one in ten laid-off workers to train for employment in other sectors of the economy.

In the area of long-term care, the budget proposal for $107 million over three years towards hiring 2,500 more personal support workers in long-term care homes will only provide six minutes more care per patient per day. This does not come anywhere near to bringing patient care in these facilities up to the 3.5 hours a day we have been calling for.

We are extremely disappointed to see that the McGuinty government still refuses to live up to its commitments on childcare. Despite having promised $300 million for childcare in 2003, they spent only $25 million in their first term. The 15,000 new spaces created between 2005 and 2007 were funded by the now-cancelled national child care plan. This stands in sharp contrast to their Quebec cousins, who in a modest budget released a couple of weeks ago, put $600 million toward creating an additional 20,000 $7 a day childcare spaces.

The McGuinty government further fails in the area of its poverty reduction agenda, with no mention of pay equity in this budget. The government now owes $78 million for 2006 - 2007 and will owe another $467.9 million for 2008-2011 to the 100,000 women working in predominantly female workplaces such as child care centres, who used the proxy comparison method. Ensuring low-wage workers have pay equity should be part of the government's poverty reduction strategy.

The McGuinty government has also failed to fulfill its promise to end the clawback of the National Child Benefit Supplement. The Ontario Disability Support Program benefits and Ontario Works benefits will increase by only 2% in 2008-2009, which is less than the rate of inflation. The fact remains that adults on social assistance are worse off today, when inflation is taken into account, than when Dalton McGuinty took office in 2003.

The minimum wage will continue to remain below a living wage, and will not see an increase for another two years. $100 million for affordable housing will put only a minuscule dent in the estimated $1.5 billion deficit in social housing in this province.

In this budget, the McGuinty government commits $75 million over three years to expand the number of apprentices. But he ignores the fact that under his Government, jobs like those in call centres are considered skied trades, and tax dollars are used to hand tax credits to those centres when they train an apprentice. Rather than focus on the number of registered apprentices, Premier McGuinty needs to create jobs for apprentices in whole skilled trades.

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/For further information: Sandra Clifford
OFL Director of Legislation & Politicial Action
416.573.0623 (cellular)/ IN: HEALTH, LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Irene Harris, OFL Secretary-Treasurer
    Primary Phone: 416-441-2731 ext. 651
    Secondary Phone: 416-347-0454
    Toll-Free: 800-668-9138