Toronto public health cuts
As many of you know, the Ford government has announced major changes to Toronto Public Health (TPH) services. The funding formula is being changed to 50% provincial and 50% municipal.
This equates to:
$64 million gone for this budget year.
Over $1 billion in cuts over a 10 year period.
The province made this decision unilaterally, without any consultation, and suddenly. As the money is being pulled from TPH immediately this year after the City passed its budget, some staff will inevitably be laid off and some services will be terminated.
The Board of Health, of which I am a member, will be meeting in the coming days, along with City Council. My Colleagues and I will be analyzing the situation, hearing from staff on the implications of this change, and will decide the City's response. We have much work to do to stretch sparse resources compassionately and responsibly.
I believe the following TPH services and staff should be prioritized and protected from cuts as much as possible:
Immunization, disease prevention, and vaccination.
Inspection of health care facilities and food premises & restaurants.
Student nutrition programs.& family health.
There are 23 breakfast programs at schools, 22 child care centre inspection programs, 27 school immunization programs, and 4 long term care centres with food inspection and infection control in our Ward that are at risk. It's my job to fight for these facilities and I will be working proactively with colleagues and counterparts of all political stripes to do so.
The best way to get a positive and substantive return on investment in health is to fund many of the TPH services now at risk. If the provincial government wants to "end Hallway Medicine" they should keep in mind that the TPH saves our regular health sector a tremendous amount of strain and stress. I will be keeping you all informed as this issues continues to unfold.