(Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / hKuprevich)

NDP blasts Premier Ford, says job cuts are coming

Ontario’s official opposition is blasting Premier Doug Ford after he spoke at a Cambridge news conference on Wednesday where he said only management jobs would be cut when the health care system is overhauled.

“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 told the CBC. “We’re going to take that money and put it on the front lines.”

Earlier this month, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced a new super agency called Ontario Health would replace local health integrated networks. Some background materials distributed to reporters at the announcement said some administrative positions are “duplicative”, but she did not say if there would be job losses.

However, the New Democrats said it’s not just managers; it said front-line job cuts have already started.

“How many cancer care workers will be fired when he scraps Cancer Care Ontario?” NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh asked. “And what will happen if Ford lifts the cap on class sizes or gets rid of full-day kindergarten with a teacher in the classroom all day? Will kindergarten teachers be fired?”

The NDP claimed there have already been cuts to front-line staff, including 40 nurses at the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, 60 nurses at Sudbury Hospital, and 40 front-line staff at the Ontario Child Advocate.

The job cuts at the Ontario Child Advocate have not taken effect yet. Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé’s office is expected to assume its duties this spring, and the elimination of those jobs is expected to take effect then.

The NDP also pointed to a hiring freeze in education.

The New Democrats said Doug Ford’s first budget next month is widely expected to include deep cuts. The budget will be announced on April 11.