This afternoon, the Provincial Government announced that they are cutting $1 billion to Toronto Public Health over the next 10 years, effective immediately. This announcement is a direct attack on Toronto. The provincial government funds approximately 72% of Toronto Public Health's operating budget. The current Ministry of Health & Long Term Care contribution to Toronto Public Health is approximately $147 million a year.
All Torontonians depend on Toronto Public Health services. Toronto Public Health investigates 50,000 cases and 300 outbreaks of communicable diseases per year. They vaccinate 53,000 students, provide 224,000 dental screenings for children and conduct 32,500 food premise inspections.
Toronto Public Health's programs include disease prevention, immunization monitoring and surveillance, infectious disease control and water quality testing, to name only a few. Toronto Public Health services are most essential for those impacted by poverty, working with communities that are most vulnerable and hardest to reach.
Today's announcement undermines an indisputable body of evidence that suggests the best way to improve the health of Ontarians is to invest more in public health services, not less.
Toronto is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Communities across the Downtown East are feeling the impact of chronic underinvestment in public health services, mental health and addiction services, and overdose prevention services. Full implementation of the Enhanced 5-Year Downtown East Action Plan depends on Toronto Public Health services, along with our provincial counterparts stepping up, not backing out. Today's announcement puts this tireless work in jeopardy.
Today's announcement is a heartless and destructive attack on Toronto, and the health and safety of all residents.