OSHAWA – Official Opposition members of the provincial Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs are in Oshawa for pre-budget consultations to hear from community and healthcare organizations serving the GTA and Durham Region.
"What we heard from organizations today is alarming,” said Terence Kernaghan (London North Centre). “The Government has stockpiled massive contingency funds in part by withholding the funds they promised to community and non-profit organizations. Organizations providing critical services such as Victim Services of Durham Region and Abilities Centre have highlighted repeatedly that the lack of sustainable funding will put an end to necessary programs that serve the community. This is unacceptable. Worse yet, when long-promised funding doesn’t flow, it means organizations are effectively subsidizing this government.”
“Our priorities going into today’s hearings is ensuring that healthcare, community, and education organizations are not left behind in the 2024 budget,” added Jennifer French (Oshawa). "Today we heard from organizations that are integral to providing mental health and community support to my constituents in Oshawa and communities across Durham Region. This government is leaving organizations providing essential services begging for basics.”
- Peterborough Regional Health Centre highlighted that despite having a fully built facility ready to expand specialized cancer care and mental health care services at their hospital, they have been stuck waiting since 2021 for the Ministry of Health to approve capital funding to approve funding so the facility can begin providing service
- Victim Services of Durham Region illustrated how low base funding and an over-reliance on grants have created an unsustainable program model for some of their most critical and essential services. They are calling for an inter-ministry task force and increased sustainable base funding.
- Bethesda House called for new investment for operating budget for shelters provincially as an organization that serves women and children escaping violence after highlighting the lack of funding for permanent staffing and capacity. This sector remains underfunded and has not received the 5 per cent funding increase in funding dollars that other ministries have received. Rather than spending time providing care, much time is allocated to grant-writing when this government could provide stability with year over year base funding increases. Most disturbingly, Bethesda house has had to turn away 1,063 women and children who met their mandate due to capacity issues.
- Ontario Community Support Association highlighted the issues of wage parity.
- Ontario Public School Board Association advocated for supporting Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program & Specialist High Skills Major and ensuring they remain sustainable and continue supporting students in classrooms.