Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 26, 2009 17:04 ET

Ontario Budget a Missed Opportunity says OFL

Attention: Assignment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO (FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE)--(Marketwire - March 26, 2009) - Today's budget falls short of the coherent plan that Ontario workers facing job losses needed. The budget's spending could have been much wiser and provided more value for money.

Infrastructure investment

The government has announced $1.7 billion new provincial infrastructure spending. However it misses a crucial opportunity. There are no Buy Ontario provisions that would ensure that we would get the maximum benefit from Ontario tax dollars spent on these programs.

Support for our industrial sector

The budget announced targeted tax support for the industrial sector. However, there are crucial elements missing. There is no relief for workers devastated by job loss and who are not eligible for employment insurance. There are no measures on severance and termination pay that is owed; there are no measures to increase access to social assistance for workers who lose their jobs but have more than $600 in assets.

Supporting public services when we need them the most

The budget pays lip service to public services. However, it is undermining our capacity to pay for them by an unnecessary reduction in general corporate income tax rates that will cost $2.3 billion a year at maturity. We know from the Harris years that corporate tax cuts will result in cuts to crucial programs at a time when we need them the most.

Poverty reduction

While we support the government's acceleration of the Ontario Child Benefit; there are crucial elements in the poverty reduction strategy that are missing that will leave Ontarians hungry. Despite the fact that social assistance rates are dangerously low; they were increased by only two per cent. The government reneged on its promise in the poverty reduction strategy to increase employment standards enforcement by $10 million and increased it instead by only $4.5 million, leaving hundreds of thousands of people vulnerable to violations of their rights.

Not only did they not meet their commitment from the 2003 budget for increasing child care by $300 million, they will not even step up to the plate and replace cuts to federal funding. As a result, we will lose subsidized childcare spaces.

"Ontario's government had a real opportunity to help working families," said Ontario Federation of Labour president Wayne Samuelson. "They missed that opportunity and as a result, more of Ontario's working families will be missing their next mortgage payment."

The Ontario Federation of Labour advocates for 700,000 workers and their families.
Affiliated unions represent workers in every sector of the economy.

cope343 /For further information: Wayne Samuelson
OFL President
416.571.7408 (cellular)/ IN: LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Dana Boettger, OFL Communications
    Primary Phone: 416-441-2731 ext. 665
    Secondary Phone: 416-443-7665
    Toll-Free: 800-668-9138