An uncertain budget amidst uncertain times
Publish date: Thursday, November 05, 2020 update
Budget prompts more questions than answers, says Ontario’s professional employees’ union
TORONTO, ON – Ontario’s latest budget, released amidst record-high rates of infection and historic economic uncertainty, prompts more questions than answers, says AMAPCEO, the union representing the province’s 14,000 professional employees.
While the union welcomes planned investments in healthcare, rural broadband, and small businesses, the provincial budget seems more of a stop gap measure than a plan for the province.
“The devil is in the details,” said AMAPCEO President Dave Bulmer. “There’s a lot of unanswered questions here.”
For example, the budget mentions “more responsive and flexible public services,” with a focus on efficiency, and not many more details than that.
As AMAPCEO has regularly pointed out, Ontario has the leanest public service in the country—with nearly a quarter fewer full-time public servants per capita than the next leanest public service, British Columbia.
The pandemic has only further illustrated just how critical a fully staffed public service is to this province.
“AMAPCEO members—across every ministry—have been working diligently, innovating new ways to deliver public services and keep government working for the people of this province,” Bulmer said. “Good business leaders know there’s never a bad time to invest in your employees. Now is the time to make sure the government has the workforce of professionals it needs to weather this storm.”
And with another provincial budget expected in the spring, Bulmer warns the government not to fall back into old habits, regardless of where the province is at in the fight against COVID-19.
“Before the pandemic, this government’s budget featured massive cuts to Ontario’s public services—from healthcare to education and from environmental programs to social assistance,” Bulmer said. “Those cuts were a bad idea then and would be an even worse idea now. We’re all still feeling the impact of the cuts they made to public health.”
The union believes stronger public services and increased funding to the broader public sector—in areas such as public health and funding for arts and culture—will help do just that.
“Once Ontario comes out of this pandemic and begins the road to recovery, we will need smart investment to keep the province safe and to stimulate growth,” Bulmer said.
Jason Wagar, Communications Specialist — firstname.lastname@example.org, 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).