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Ontario action plan includes necessary boost to healthcare

Publish date: Wednesday, March 25, 2020 update

Ontario's "First Step" a good one, but much more needs to be done to protect Ontarians from the economic impacts of COVID-19 crisis.

Ontario’s “First Step” a good one but much more needs to be done to protect Ontarians from economic impacts of COVID-19 crisis 

A boost in healthcare spending will help protect many Ontarians from the earthquake that is the COVID-19 pandemic, but much more needs to be done quickly to shield them from the immediate and continued aftershocks, said AMAPCEO, the union representing 14,000 of Ontario’s professional employees. 

The Ontario Economic and Fiscal Update, called Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, includes much-needed investments in certain critical public services—healthcare particularly—at this time. 

“We welcome the government’s injection of $3.3 billion into the province’s healthcare system,” President Dave Bulmer said. “We especially appreciate those measures designed to keep healthcare workers safe, so they can keep doing their best for all of us.”  

However, the union is concerned the Economic and Fiscal Update doesn’t do enough to protect Ontarians from the ripple effects the crisis is already causing on Ontarians’ housing, food security, safety, and livelihoods. 

“We are concerned that this response does not immediately help thousands of those who are quickly finding themselves unable to make ends meet,” Bulmer said.  

AMAPCEO will continue to advocate for increased protections for all workers, and particularly, those who are precariously employed or otherwise vulnerable. 

“We’ll also keep fighting to ensure that Ontario’s public services are adequately funded, affordable, and accessible for every Ontarian—for now and in the future,” Bulmer said. 

The Economic and Fiscal Update was introduced in lieu of a full provincial budget, which is expected later this year. 

AMAPCEO staff and leadership are reviewing the legislation and its details to assess the full impact on the union’s members, who plan and provide public services. 

Bulmer spoke with Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board Secretariat, earlier today. “The Minister offered high praise for the quick response, patience, and flexibility of every member of the OPS and the Broader Public Service,” Bulmer said. He thanked the Minister on members’ behalf. 

Premier Doug Ford echoed the Minister’s sentiments in a letter sent to all members in the Ontario Public Service earlier today. 

AMAPCEO members are the public service professionals who make government work. Over the past two weeks, their efforts have included rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

  • AMAPCEO members at Public Health Ontario working to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, testing tens of thousands of samples for the virus and supporting local public health units;  
  • AMAPCEO members, including policy analysts, epidemiologists, and economists, are using their years of professional experience and expertise to advise the government on critical next steps on responding to this crisis; 
  • AMAPCEO members are working to ensure essential services continue—including protecting the physical and emotional safety of victims, safeguarding food and income security for mentally incapable adults, and arranging the safety of vulnerable children involved in the child welfare system; and  
  • AMAPCEO members working in government procurement are cleverly finding new ways to secure critical supplies for our province’s health care system, including personal protection equipment, medical test kits, and necessary equipment. 

“AMAPCEO members are going above and beyond to keep public services running at a time when Ontarians need them the most,” Bulmer said. “On behalf of every Ontarian, I thank them for their incredible dedication. Every day, I’m proud to be the President of the union that protects them, but especially during these times.” 

AMAPCEO, and its members, also thank the thousands of other workers serving their communities, including medical professionals and retail workers. 

AMAPCEO continues to be in constant communication with each bargaining unit employer to protect the health, safety, and livelihoods of every member, whether they are physically in the workplace or telecommuting.

For more information:
Jason Wagar, Communications Officer — wagar@amapceo.on.ca, 416.595.4986

More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; Health Quality Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).