Social policy experts decry cuts to housing, services

Recent cuts to the city budget for housing, services and transit have social policy experts decrying the reduction in staff and programs.

Speaking from city hall, Sean Meagher, executive director of Social Planning Toronto said, “This budget presents a stark choice for the Mayor and Council: choose between eliminating 780 staff positions, affecting programs and services for thousands of residents, especially vulnerable residents, or adopt new revenue tools to balance this budget”.

Adina Lebo, Toronto Chapter Chair of Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) impressed upon the impact of the budget on seniors: “This is not a good budget for seniors. $2 million in cuts to long-term care homes and services will not only hurt seniors, but our families who rely on City staff to provide care.”

“Without a single new penny to poverty reduction in the base budget, and nearly $30 million in cuts shelters support and housing, this budget seriously risks harming Toronto children and families,” said Michael Polanyi of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. “Council cannot overlook the built-in cuts in this budget. These cuts count, and with no new investments, we cannot move forward.

Sheila Block, Senior Economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives stated, “If the Mayor and Council do not take action on revenues beyond the proposed base, there will be a further $76 million in cuts which will affect seniors and vulnerable people: meals on wheels, closing 36 wading pools, 12 outdoor pools and 10 indoor pools, eliminating services that prevent homelessness, student nutrition programs and reducing hours at libraries.”