QUEEN’S PARK – Leader of the Official Opposition, Marit Stiles (Davenport), and her team of Ontario NDP MPPs used today’s Question Period to propose meaningful solutions to build stronger, more caring communities, across the province. They called on the government to include these fixes in the upcoming Ontario budget, set to be tabled on March 23.
“New Democrats know that people are counting on us, because things are far from normal right now,” Stiles said. “And while Ford’s Conservatives want you to settle for less, your Ontario NDP team wants you to expect more. We have ideas – big and small – to get people the support they need immediately.”
The NDP’s proposed solutions came from communities across the province and were heard during the pre-budget consultations earlier this year.
“This government is out of touch with everyday Ontarians. Budgets are about choices and Ford’s Conservatives are deciding to put insiders first,” said NDP Finance critic, Catherine Fife (Waterloo). “New Democrats are listening, and we’re making sure Ontarians’ voices are prioritized in the Legislature and the upcoming budget".
Among the achievable solutions that Marit Stiles and the Ontario NDP team advanced today:
- Additional administrative support in Ontario’s public health care system. The Ontario College of Family Physicians says funding 19 hours per week of admin help would add capacity equivalent to 2,000 new family doctors.
- Wrap-around, community-based health care support. The proposed Peterborough Community Health Centre would ensure people can keep their jobs, children can focus on learning in school, and families can spend more time together when someone is sick.
- Stable funding for public libraries, such as the Cochrane Public Library in Timmins, where community members access the Internet to find housing and apply for jobs.
- Faster access to health care for Indigenous communities. The Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Owen Sound has just one part-time physician and as a result, a 100-person, up to 24-month waitlist for care. They are requesting one-and-a-half doctors to increase capacity.
- OHIP coverage for take-home life-saving cancer drugs. The Canadian Cancer Society says this would free up valuable hospital resources and better support patients with cancer.
- Fixing our public schools. In Ottawa, the local school board indicated they are unlikely to meet the 2025 deadline for full accessibility under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act because retrofit funding has fallen short.
- Mental health support for schools to help children succeed. Fewer than one in 10 schools across the province have access to a regularly-scheduled health specialist nurse.
- Funding for community infrastructure projects, such as a new community centre and arena in Red Lake. This mining community has been requesting provincial support for more than 10 years, because they know the value of recreation in keeping residents healthy and communities strong.
- Breaking the cycle of gender-based violence. Across the province, shelters for women escaping domestic violence are grossly underfunded. In Windsor, we heard they are asking for stability in provincial funding so they can spend less time fundraising and more time saving lives.
- Implementing the recommendations from the Renfrew Inquest. These specific steps would help those affected by intimate partner violence, and so far the government has dragged their feet on taking action.
- Boosting the Ontario Digital Library, to pool resources between urban and rural libraries to save funds and make sure every Ontarian has equal access to critical online resources.
- Support hunger-relief programs, such as Meals on Wheels. The Ontario Community Support Association said underfunding is causing them to consider a one-third reduction in this program – that’s 640,000 fewer meals – and a reduction of 200,000 rides to medical appointments.
- Invest in community services, such as Centretown Community Health Centre in Ottawa, where they may need to cut staff positions which will mean as many as 1,000 fewer marginalized clients will be able to access health and social services.
Stiles and the Ontario NDP are determined to push for fresh solutions in the upcoming budget that will immediately provide relief to people and organizations across the province.