The Ford government is slashing $1-billion to Toronto Public Health over the next decade, according to the chair of the board.
Joe Cressy called the announcement “callous and short-sighted,” and said the cuts are taking effect immediately.
He said he learned of the cuts late in the afternoon on Thursday, and it appears to be a move to consolidate local public health units in the province.
The cuts will be deeply felt across the city’s health unit, said Cressy, and will affect programs including water safety testing, disease prevention, immunization monitoring, overdose prevention, prenatal support and infectious disease control.
“I say this without an ounce of exaggeration – because of today’s announced cuts – people will die. It’s not rhetoric — it’s a fact,” Cressy said.
Opposition Leader Andrea Horwarth said the the “cut to front-line health care will make people less safe and less healthy.”
In a statement, Mayor John Tory called the funding change a serious risk to the public health of the city.
“It is impossible not to see this as a targeted attack on the health of our entire city and, in particular, the health of Toronto’s most vulnerable people,” he said.
“It is inconceivable why the Ontario government would want to single out Toronto, Ontario’s capital and economic engine, for harsher treatment when we know a healthy city is a prosperous city.
The announcement comes on the same day the province announced funding to the library service would be cut by 50%.