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____ Friday February 26, 2016 ____


Ontario Budget

Ontario budget funding falls short says Unifor

Toronto - Unifor welcomes investment in education, health and infrastructure but says overall funding in the Ontario budget falls short. “Increased funding in these key areas is overdue,” said Unifor Ontario Director Katha Fortier. “"Today'’s budget is a start, but we need greater investment to really make a difference in the lives of Ontarians.”"

In its pre-budget recommendations, Unifor called on the Wynne government to restore hospital funding and increase core funding of long-term and home care. The union describes the announced budget increases for long term, hospice and palliative care as modest and says it found the hospital funding level disappointing.

"Following a five-year freeze the Ontario government has increased base funding for hospitals by a mere one per cent,"” said Fortier. “"This is a stop-gap measure that won’t significantly improve the day-to-day care of Ontario patients.”"

The union is also disappointed the budget does not go further to protect public assets.

"Rather than recognizing the sale of Ontario Hydro as a mistake the Wynne government seems to be doubling down on its plan to sell off valuable public assets to achieve short term financial gain" cautioned Fortier.

"The budget refers to government-owned assets, but they belong to the people of Ontario and once sold the priority will be on the bottom line not fair service to the taxpayer.”"

In addition, today’s budget provides very little response to the dire state of manufacturing in Ontario, with no significant investment in the advanced manufacturing sector. "“Unifor is concerned that the budget fails to outline a strategy to keep and create manufacturing jobs,"” Fortier said.

Fortier did welcome Ontario’'s commitment to work with the other provinces and the federal government to negotiate Canada Pension Plan reform. “"We continue to believe an enhanced CPP, as good as or better than the ORPP, is the best choice for Canadians,"” said Fortier.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.


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