October 15th, 2020

Ford sitting on $9 billion in COVID-19 support money: FAO

HAMILTON — Doug Ford’s penny pinching has made the second wave worse — and he’s still withholding $9.3 billion that is meant to help with the pandemic, according to a Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer (FAO).

On Thursday, the FAO released a new $37.2 billion deficit projection — but pointed out that that number includes $9.3 billion earmarked for pandemic funding that Ford is sitting on, refusing to allocate. That figure includes $6.7 billion specifically earmarked to combat the pandemic, and $2.6 billion in contingency funds.

“Doug Ford is doing the bare minimum to try to save a buck,” said NDP Finance critic Sandy Shaw. “But penny-pinching during a pandemic will cost our economy, businesses and families much more. He’s put Ontario on the brink of another health and economic disaster.

“That money could save seniors in long-term care, now facing a new wave of deadly outbreaks. It could be spent to dramatically boost COVID-19 testing and contact tracing – which Ford has rationed and throttled back to save a buck. And it could make schools safer with smaller classes.”

Shaw said more people getting sick, restrictions lasting longer, and deeper damage to Ontario’s economy and small businesses are predictable consequences of Ford’s refusal to invest in second-wave protections.