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We need to fight for our public health.

By Rachel Gray, Executive Director

Public health is an unsung hero in the modern era. You don’t pay attention to it because it’s working so well.

But we heard a lot about public health when 6 people died in Walkerton. Or when thousands of Ontarians were affected by SARS.

So perhaps it’s some small consolation that the senseless $1 billion cut to Toronto Public Health, buried 270 pages into the Ontario Budget, came to light as quickly as it did. Outrage over the proposed changes to Public Health across the province—including slashing 35 Public Health Units down to 10—brought almost 10,000 people to the lawn of Queen’s Park today in protest.

While the specifics are not yet clear, a $1 billion cut for Toronto Public Health would certainly mean the complete gutting of school breakfast programs, perinatal programs, and water and food inspection. As measles outbreaks emerge around the world, we can rest assured that they’ll soon come to a long-term care home, school, or bus ride near us—that is, if we don’t have our public health staff on the front lines.

Public health is about the highest possible return on investment we can make as a society. Well-fed kids do better in school, healthy babies have much better chances of thriving, and the cost of an outbreak will always be catastrophically high compared to the inspections that could have prevented them.

It has taken generations to build the quality of public health we have now. Yet instead of choosing to protect our school yards, restaurants, and water sources, the Ontario government is chasing after imaginary “cost-savings” that put our health, and our economy, at severe risk.

As an organization that works alongside people without reliable access to food, healthcare, and shelter, we at The Stop know that the most vulnerable members of our society will suffer the quickest and the most from these senseless cuts.

The Stop is calling on the provincial government to reverse these proposed cuts, and stop dismantling the structures that keep us healthy and thriving as a city.

We hope you will do the same.

 

Sign the Progress Toronto Petition to stop the cuts.