Management-level jobs will be lost in the planned merger of 20 provincial health agencies, Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday, as his message shifted from no job losses under his government to no front-line job losses.
Front-line jobs will be protected, Ford said, as the province consolidates 14 local health integration networks (LHINs), Cancer Care Ontario, eHealth Ontario and several other agencies into a new organization called Ontario Health.
"You know who's going to lose their jobs, unfortunately, are the people in the LHINs — the CEOs that are making hundreds of thousands of dollars, the big silos they have there, the big executives, presidents and vice-presidents making outrageous amounts of money," Ford said.
When Health Minister Christine Elliott announced the health system transformation last month, background materials portrayed some management and administrative work at the agencies as "duplicative," which Elliott said referred to administrative functions.
During last year's election campaign, Ford often promised that under his government not a single job would be lost, as he looks for ways to trim a multi-billion-dollar deficit. But in recent weeks his government and ministers have amended that promise, adding the phrase "front-line."
The Ron Taverner controversy shows that, sometimes, the system works
"So far we've made these efficiencies and not one person has lost their job," Ford said Wednesday.
Ontario's ombudsman has said that some workers in the provincial Child and Youth Advocate's office will lose their jobs when his office assumes its duties this spring.
Management-level health jobs will be axed, Ontario premier says
The Toronto Catholic District School Board has also said the province's decision to cut programs aimed at providing students with extra skills and support would result in the loss of about 35 part-time student tutors and 60 working in youth after-hour programs.
Kidsability, an autism service provider in the Waterloo region, said it is laying off eight therapists and one social worker as a result of the government's changes to how it funds autism therapy.
Regional service providers will no longer be directly funded by the government, rather, families will be given money directly to spend in a variety of possible ways.
Families say the annual caps of $20,000 for treatment for children under six, and $5,000 for children six to 18, will only pay for a fraction of what many kids need, as intensive therapy can cost up to $80,000 per year. The changes mean that parents may not seek services from Kidsability, though the CEO told CBC she is leaving the door open to rehiring the laid off workers.
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Jileson said the dinner is being held to thank people in the area for their support during the provincial election last year, where hundreds showed up at a campaign rally.
"The risk of a carbon tax recession is real." Ford told a news conference, following a tour of Challenger Motor Freight.
He also said his government will use every tool and power at its disposal to fight the tax, which he calls "the worst tax, ever,".
"The federal carbon tax is going to hit your family's budget like a tonne of bricks," Ford said. "A carbon tax will make no difference to the environment. But it will drive up the cost of gas for your car, home heating for your family and the cost of getting food to your grocery store shelf."
Kidsability, an autism service provider in the Waterloo region, said it is laying off eight therapists and one social worker as a result of the governments changes to how it funds autism therapy. Regional service providers will no longer be directly funded by the government, rather, families will be given money directly to spend in a variety of possible ways.
Ford said by 2022, the federal carbon tax will cost the typical household around $650 a year. "That's less take home pay, money that could go to mortgage, or pay bills … but instead it will line the pockets of insiders and friends of the federal government. A carbon tax will also chase jobs out of Ontario,"
The premier used Challenger Motor Freight as a backdrop to highlight how the carbon tax will impact the transportation sector.
“Sure, I’m disappointed,” about Taverner stepping down, the premier said. “But we have a great commissioner in his place … Ron is an incredible, incredible person. He’s going to continue working with Toronto police and do a great job like he always has. But we’re moving forward, we have a great commissioner and I wish him all the best.”
He used the example of a long-haul truck consuming 88,000 litres of fuel each year, which will translate into more than $3,500 in operating costs in 2019 and over $11,000 by 2022.
"Doug Ford unleashed a Trump-style firehose of false statements about carbon pricing today. He not only ignored all of the evidence of its impacts on our environment and economy, but also the fact that Ontarians will be getting rebates from the federal government." Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist with Greenpeace Canada said in an emailed statement to KitchenerToday.com.
"We are already seeing the impacts of climate change and it is those more extreme storms, floods, droughts and wildfires, rather than putting a price on pollution, that will create an affordability crisis for ordinary Ontarians." added Stewart.
HAPPENING NOW: @fordnation making an announcement at Challenger in Cambridge slamming the federal governments Carbon Tax. pic.twitter.com/vlUEyjmN8x
The group wanted to get the premier's attention to reverse changes that were made to the funding for autism therapy.
Sarah Jones has two daughters with autism. "We were surprised and disappointed. It was only three years ago the PC government stood with us and said that the Liberals cuts … were completely unfair and it's almost exactly the same changes being made again, where children are being restricted solely on age."
The protest is going on while Doug Ford makes an announcement inside Challenger @570NEWS pic.twitter.com/JAhwNVbq8n
PHOTOS: Protest outside of Challenger in Cambridge following changes to Ontario’s autism program @570NEWS pic.twitter.com/UB2cAqfmiO