The Ford government’s budget proposal, released on April 11, 2019, is bad news for Ontario’s colleges and universities. By 2024, 60 per cent of post-secondary funding will be tied to what the government calls “performance outcomes”. As the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations explains: “performance-based funding threatens education quality as it rewards institutions that meet specific performance targets while penalizing those that do not.” This model will create more pressure for small and medium size universities to compete for funding.
College and university funding will be cut $400 million annually which entails deep cuts to OSAP, wage caps, forced early retirements, and increased contract labour. Faculty are also concerned that the government is considering targeting the rights of senior faculty and interfering with university collective agreements. Overall, the budget and performance-based funding model will further incentivize the rise of precarious work on our campuses.
Here are other major cuts:
1. Public school education: Class sizes will balloon and repairs in classrooms will not be made. As already leaked before, the government intends to cut at least 3,475 full-time teaching positions.
2. Healthcare: Healthcare funding is not being matched to inflation. This is going to mean layoffs to frontline staff.
3. Indigenous Affairs: IA is having its budget cut by 50%, losing more than $70 million in funding.
4. Social Services: The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services will see a cut of $1 billion. The government refused to provide details about what these cuts would mean for special services at home, autism support, and other programs.
5. Legal aid for refugees and immigrants: In 2019-2020, Legal Aid Ontario will receive $133 million less from the Ontario government and that cut will increase to $164 million by 2021-2022.
The time is right to unify our movements against these cuts — last week, a massive high school student walk out and rally of over 25,000 public school teachers at Queen’s Park showed that massive mobilizations against cuts are possible.
On April 6, 2019, as many as 25,000 people rallied at Queen’s Park to protest the government’s decision to increase class sizes in intermediate and high school grades, introduce mandatory online courses, and cut at least 3,475 full-time teaching jobs.