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News · Ontario Fall Economic Statement: a response from OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof

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Ontario Fall Economic Statement: a response from OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof

November 19, 2018 — The Ford government’s Fall Economic Statement was delivered at Queen’s Park last week, and was accompanied by a number of disconcerting announcements that point to a reckless agenda of cuts to important services that Ontarians rely upon for fair representation and adequate public oversight.

The elimination of the Office of the Ontario Child Advocate is an irresponsible move that will create heightened risks for children who are in foster care in Ontario, or under the care of a children’s aid society. The Child Advocate plays a crucial role in guarding against abuse on behalf of some of the most vulnerable children in the province, including Indigenous children and children with special needs, and the government’s plan to eliminate this service is short-sighted in the extreme. As educators whose primary concern is the well-being of our students, we must condemn this decision and call on the government to prioritize the protection of children.

By eliminating the Office of the Environmental Commissioner, the Ford government continues to demonstrate a crass indifference to environmental concerns. Government decisions and initiatives affecting climate change and the environment will no longer be subject to formal independent scrutiny on behalf of the people of Ontario. This represents a major step backward on the part of the government.

Additionally, the abolition of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner is an insult to every one of the 600,000 Franco-Ontarians in communities across the province – an insult that is only amplified by the further decisions to scrap plans for Ontario’s first French-language university. A community that has made countless contributions to the cultural, economic and political life of Ontario is losing an important advocate, and it’s frankly bewildering that the Ford government thinks this is an appropriate way to cut costs.

Every OSSTF/FEESO member should be deeply concerned about these announcements and about the overall tone of the economic statement. We call on the Ford government to reconsider this direction and to move forward instead with an economic plan that does not place private sector interests ahead of the needs of the people of Ontario.

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