Today Mitzie Hunter, MPP Scarborough-Guildwood responded to the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) Report: “Federal and Provincial COVID-19 Response Measures.”
“Today’s report from the FAO confirms what we’ve known all along: the federal government has stepped up during these remarkable times, but the province of Ontario has not. The Premier has stood by while the federal government stepped up,” Hunter remarked.
Today’s report from the FAO shows that, after accounting for federal cash transfers, the province’s share of the COVID-19 support costs is only 3% while the federal government’s share of the cost is 97%.
“The Premier is sitting on substantial unspent funds while the people of Ontario are in need. I urge the Premier to listen to what the people of Ontario have been asking for:
- Investments in education to ensure smaller class sizes for a safe return to schools,
- Meaningful support for small businesses, including tax deferral forgiveness,
- Investments in Public Health to provide targeted testing and tracing in COVID-19 hotspots,
- and Action to address the economic fallout from the pandemic for women, BIPOC and youth, the “she-covery”.
I have been pushing for the government to take action in these areas for months and have written to the government many times – but the Premier has continued to sit on billions in unspent support funds,” stated Hunter.
The FAO has estimated that the province has a further $6.7 billion in unallocated funds that are available to be directed to new measures, including $3.5 billion in cash transfers from the federal government that have yet to be allocated by the Province to specific measures.
“The government is underfunding education while support funds sit idle. They are standing by while businesses fail and tenants across the province are evicted. It is clearly not a matter of available funds – it is about the Premier’s misguided priorities. It is high time for the government to take action and invest in Ontario’s full economic recovery,” Hunter concluded.