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After the Budget: the fight to protect public services continues

Now that the dust has settled from City Council’s January 17th vote on the 2012 Budget, it’s time to review what services were saved at the last minute, what has been lost and what’s ahead.

Prior to Budget day some program funding had been restored for community centres, student nutrition, pools, arts & culture grants and sidewalk clearing.

At the special Budget Council meeting on Tuesday, January 17th other programs and services were restored – until next year’s Budget cycle begins again.

  • School-based child care rent subsidy (Children’s Services)
  • Three child care centres – Greenholme-Albion, Bellevue and St. Mark’s, slated for closure, will remain open
  • Programs for youth, children and seniors at Priority Centres has been restored (Parks, Forestry & Recreation) as well as day use of arenas and pool funding
  • Threatened with closure, three homeless shelters, (Birchmount, Downsview Dells, Bellwoods House) will remain open
  • Funding restored to the Community Partnership Investment Program non-arts grants
  • Immigrant Women’s Health Centre – the City finally agreed to fund its 25% share of the centre – the other 75% comes from the province
  • Re-instate three environment support positions at the Toronto Environment Office
  • Preserve current service hours, programs and books/materials in Toronto’s libraries
  • Re-instate 50% of the Live Green Toronto program animators’ program (it was to be cut by 100%)

However, the 2012 budget still cuts $59 million from the City finances, resulting in the loss of more than 500 full-time equivalents (FTE’s) for Local 79, affecting most City divisions. By a narrow vote, council failed to reverse the contracting out of cleaning jobs in City facilities.

The Youth Outreach Program will be re-evaluated as part of the Recreation Service Review with a report going to City Council. The report could possibly include additional staff resources beyond what is provided in the 2012 Operating Budget.

In addition to the job cuts and contracting out of cleaning services in the 2012 budget, there is a potential for $300-million more cuts emanating from “service efficiency reviews” that would include contracting out of hostels, child care centres and the potential sale of nine of our ten Long Term Care Homes.

In the past six months leading up to the budget vote, Toronto citizens have come out strongly in support of quality public services – publicly delivered. The fight to protect the valued public services, that you deliver, continues.

 

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