OFL responds to Ontario Budget



(TORONTO, ON.) -- Today, the McGuinty government delivered two budgets to the province: a lucrative one for corporations and the financial sector and another full of deep cuts to core services for everyone else. McGuinty’s stubborn refusal to increase provincial revenue through the fair taxation of banks and corporations will cost many their jobs and many more their livelihoods.

“McGuinty hasn’t given us a balanced budget, he’s given us a banker’s budget. It was drafted by a banker, for bankers, so it is no surprise that this budget shields the financial and private sector from sharing the burden of a deficit they helped to create,” said OFL President Sid Ryan. “Simply rolling corporate tax cuts back by 1.5 percent would generate enough revenue to cancel cuts to social assistance and increase the income of recipients by 25 percent. Instead of looking for fair measures to generate revenue, McGuinty is asking the most vulnerable to make greater sacrifices.”

Today's budget will uphold three years of corporate tax cuts that continue to starve the province of billions in revenue while imposing “more than half” of the 362 cuts in the Drummond Commission’s five-year plan. Lack of funding will cause child care centres to close and force some working mothers out of the labour market. Frozen benefits payments for lifeline services like the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works will amount to a real dollar cut for the most vulnerable. Even funding for so-called “protected programs,” like education and health care, will lag nearly 5 percent behind inflation and population growth, leading to layoffs and service reductions.

“This budget reflects a profound lack of leadership from the Liberals. Instead of a plan to create jobs and grow the economy, McGuinty has offered us no plan at all. It is the same lack of vision that lost McGuinty his majority but it will cost working people much more,” said Ryan. “You simply can’t cut your way to prosperity. You have to make investments that will grow the economy, keep people working and help families get back on their feet.”

When it comes to labour relations, McGuinty’s budget strikes an ominous tone. While purporting to support free collective bargaining and falling short of legislating a wage freeze for unionized workers, the budget threatens government intervention to impose administrative or legislative measures as it sees fit.

“Ontarians never gave McGuinty a mandate to cut jobs and undermine the social safety net. Thankfully, we have a minority government that requires compromise for the budget to pass,” said Ryan. “The vast majority of Ontarians want corporations and the well-to-do to pay their fair share. Since McGuinty is ignoring the electorate, we will take our demands directly to Queen’s Park. Over 60 labour unions and community groups have already pledged to challenge McGuinty’s agenda of cuts in a mass rally at Queen’s Park on April 21.”

The OFL represents one million workers across Ontario and President Sid Ryan is the voice of Ontario’s labour movement. For details on the April 21 Day of Action Against Cuts, visit http://www.OFL.ca.

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For More Information:
Patrick (Sid) Ryan, President
p: 416.441.2731 | m: 416.209.0066 | f: 416.441.0722
Toll-free: 1-800-668-9138
Joel Duff, Communications Director
p: 416-443-7665 | m: 416-707-0349 | f: 416-441-1893