On Wednesday this week, the Finance Minister introduced the Government’s Budget for 2021-22. Like many of you, I have some concerns with the direction this budget and government is taking our province. Although not everything in the budget is bad news, the big issues, which affect Orléans’ families the most is where the Ontario Government has missed the mark.
While this budget may have been enough in the best of times – we are not in the best of time. Ontario families need action and a plan for economic recovery. This budget doesn’t have one.
Moreover, it appears that the government has decided the pandemic is already behind them. The budget does not contain a plan to enhance Public Health, notwithstanding the critical role that Public Health Units played in dealing with the COVD-19 pandemic.
The budget also removes all of the COVID-19 funding for education that has been in place during the pandemic. The vaccination rollout has not gone smoothly, and even if it improves, we shouldn’t plan on things being back to normal by the time school starts in the fall – especially since children aren’t approved for the vaccine yet.
For the past year I have been fighting at Queen’s Park for you and your family. For a plan to get our province back on track.
But this budget abandons our kids. It abandons our grandparents. And it abandons small business owners that create jobs, sponsors sports teams and make our communities great places to live.What families wanted to see in the budget:
- Funding to build schools and tackle the repair backlog;
- Safe class sizes to protect our students and their educators;
- The funding needed for a new approach to caring for our seniors;
- A plan to put small businesses first in Ontario’s economic recovery;
- A clear path on how to get more women back in the workforce;
- Provincially funded paid sick leave for Ontario’s workers;
- Measures to protect the environment and help tackle climate change; and;
- A plan for an equitable recovery from COVID-19.
Unfortunately, this budget does not truly address any of these issues.
I am going to stay focused on fighting for:
- Your kids and their classrooms – fighting to build and repair schools
- Your parents and grandparents – fighting for world-class nursing homes and the quality care our greatest generations deserve.
- Your business – fighting to put small businesses first in Ontario’s economic recovery.
While these important issues are not substantially addressed in the budget, there is one important local project I wanted to bring to your attention.
In 2018, the previous government committed $105 million to support the construction of a new building at CHEO that would help integrate care and offer families timely and effective services and supports. This week’s budget greenlights the project called ‘1door4care’.
The 1door4care building will merge seven care locations, currently spread across Ottawa, into a single, state-of-the-art, purpose-built site on CHEO’s main campus at Smyth Road. It will include multi-use clinic space, a physiotherapy rehab gym, expanded mental health clinics, indoor and outdoor space where teachers and therapists combine education and therapy, secure space for children who have been abused, state-of-the-art treatment rooms for kids with behavioural issues, advanced technology to enable virtual care, a physical link to the main building on campus, family support spaces and more.
You can download the budget here. I am going to stay focused on you and your family – and I’m going to fight to keep this province focused on what matters.