March 18th, 2021
March 18th, 2021
SCARBOROUGH — People need next week’s provincial budget to help them get through the pandemic and finally deliver some hope, says Official Opposition leader Andrea Horwath.
Horwath was in Scarborough Thursday to lay out the NDP’s top budget priorities — investments she said are must-haves to help long-term care, hospitals, schools and job creation.
“People have been doing their part. But we need Doug Ford to do his part in order to stop this cycle of outbreaks and lockdowns,” said Horwath. “Cuts and underfunding COVID-fighting efforts now would only drag us backwards.
“I believe it’s time to invest in people. If I were the premier today, I’d be using this budget to give people the help they need to make it to the other side of this pandemic. I’d write this budget through a an equity lens — helping hard-hit communities, and building a she-covery. I’d give them hope that we can end this, and start our recovery.”
The NDP’s top budget priorities include:
Achieve four hours of daily hands-on care for every long-term care resident urgently by hiring 10,000 full-time PSWs in long-term care, and giving them higher wages and paid training
Immediately reinstate comprehensive Resident Quality Inspections in long-term care
Shore up the hospital sector with increases to base funding and eliminating all hospital deficits
Give hospitals funding to eliminate the backlog of surgeries and cancer screenings. A minimum of 227,500 patients are waiting in pain for surgeries that were delayed
Provide funding to get shovels in the ground on hospital construction and expansion urgently, including new hospital beds in Scarborough, and a new full hospital in Brampton
Students and schools
Help students recover pandemic learning loss by hiring additional teachers and education workers, guaranteeing smaller class sizes and no layoffs
Help students overcome the difficult pandemic year with new mental health supports in every school
Fund 14 paid sick days and guarantee paid time off to get a vaccine
Provide small businesses with expanded rent and payroll supports until businesses are back on their feet
Ford’s pre-pandemic budget made deep, painful cuts including cutting as many as 10,000 teachers and education workers, taking away supports for children with autism, and slashing public health units. A March memo from the Ministry of Education indicated that the Ford government is planning to cut a whopping $1.6 billion from education.
Re-instate annual comprehensive Resident Quality Inspections and enforcement.The government’s own long-term care commission made a series of recommendations for the government related to inspections and enforcement including:
Reintroduce annual Resident Quality Inspections (RQIs) for all long-term care homes and require all reactive inspections occurring during the pandemic to include an infection prevention and control program review.
Funding items in the upcoming 2021 provincial budget would include funding to hire and train additional inspectors to implement the RQIs on every LTC home in the system, at a minimum on an annual basis.
A plan for recruitment and retention of personal support workers in long-term care homes.
The NDP is calling for a pay raise for PSWs, as well as permanent full-time jobs, rather than temp gigs. The temporary pay boost announced in October will expire on March 31. It raised wages between $2 and $3 an hour for PSWs in hospitals, home care, long-term care and social services. The six-month initiative cost $461 million.
The NDP is calling for its Time to Care Act, which staffs up to a level that gives all long-term care residents a minimum of 4.1 hours of hands-on care and attention daily, to be passed and fully realized urgently.
At the beginning of June 2020, Quebec’s government launched a recruitment drive to hire 10,000 PSW-equivalent workers. They paid them $21 per hour for training, increased wages to $26 an hour when they were hired, and Quebec has retained nearly all those workers, who protected seniors in care homes during the second wave.
Shore up the hospital sector with increases to base funding and eliminating deficits.
Eliminate the backlog of surgeries and cancer screening.
Students and schools
Help students recover pandemic learning loss by hiring additional teachers and education workers, guaranteeing smaller class sizes and no layoffs.
Help students overcome the difficult pandemic year with new mental health supports in every school.
Fund 14 paid sick days and guarantee paid time off to get a vaccine, in addition to regular permanent paid sick days.
Provide small businesses with expanded rent and payroll supports until businesses are back on their feet.
LIVE IN SCARBOROUGH — Andrea Horwath is in Scarborough with MPP @DolyBegum to lay out the NDP's top budget priorities — investments in LTC, hospitals, schools and job creation to help folks get through the pandemic and deliver some hope. #onpoli https://t.co/AXFxAUfw8O— Andrea Horwath (@AndreaHorwath) March 18, 2021