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Finance committee must examine holes in COVID-19 response

Mike Schreiner released the following statement as the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs met to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on Ontario’s economy:

QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement as the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs met to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on Ontario’s economy:

“This committee has an important role to hold the government accountable and examine whether the financial response to COVID-19 truly matches the Premier’s big promises.

I want to acknowledge and thank the government for expanding the membership of the committee to include all parties.

Today, I used my time to ask whether our public health system is being sufficiently resourced to address chronic testing delays and keep Ontarians safe from the virus.

The Premier has repeatedly assured Ontarians that he will spare no expense to address the COVID crisis. But, using numbers from the FAO, less than half of the money allocated is direct funding and only 26% is direct funding related to COVID.

The Premier must explain why people, businesses and municipalities are not receiving the urgent relief they need to stay afloat.

The government needs to tell us why high-income households continue to receive billions in hydro subsidies, while people with disabilities are getting a portion of their federal emergency relief clawed back.

And municipalities deserve urgent answers to their plea for financial support to dig out of the huge financial hole caused by COVID-19.

The Ford government must immediately implement a municipal response plan to stabilize their operating costs and offset the major loss in revenues.”