Canadian Manufacturing

Ford’s throne speech offers no new solutions on staffing shortages

The Canadian Press
   

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The speech touted key parts of Ford's agenda, including building highways and other infrastructure, attracting electric vehicle manufacturing investment, and a skilled trades strategy.

More can be done to ease health system pressures in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford’s throne speech acknowledged on Aug. 9, but no new solutions were offered to the problem that’s led to temporary emergency room closures across the province.

Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell delivered Ford’s speech from the throne, which marks the start of a new legislative session, and it said the Progressive Conservative government is working with health-system stakeholders to identify ideas to tackle the issue.

Ford has been premier since 2018, and the speech touted what he has already done in health, including adding thousands of hospital beds and nurses, investing in home and community care, introducing a grant to attract health professionals to rural and remote areas, and planning to build 30,000 new long-term care beds.

“While these historic investments have helped to support the province’s health system through the most challenging period in modern history, there’s no question it, like health systems across Canada, continues to experience significant pressures, including an exhausted workforce and increasingly stressed emergency departments,” Dowdeswell said.

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“More can still be done. Your government is actively engaging with health-system partners to identify urgent, actionable solutions and will implement whatever measures are needed to help ease immediate pressures, while also ensuring the province is ready to stay open during any winter surge.”

Ontario’s opposition parties criticized the government for a lack of new proposals in the throne speech or changes to the budget, despite inflation being much higher now than it was in the spring, and a crisis in the health-care system.

The actual budget legislation is unchanged from when it was tabled but not passed before the spring election. But projections have changed since then, and the government is now forecasting a deficit of $18.8 billion this year, down from the $19.9 billion the Tories expected in the spring due to higher-than-projected taxation revenues.

Personal income tax revenue is projected to increase by $941 million, sales tax by $597 million, and corporations tax by $417 million. However, land transfer tax revenue is projected to decrease by $787 million due to a slowing housing market.

Bethlenfalvy said it’s prudent to use $1.1 billion to cut the deficit instead of on program spending given global economic uncertainty.

The speech touted key parts of Ford’s agenda, including building highways and other infrastructure, attracting electric vehicle manufacturing investment, and a skilled trades strategy that seeks to address a labour shortage.

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