Anti-poverty

Communist Party demands anti-austerity budget for Ontario

The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) has produced a comprehensive submission to Ontario's 2018 Pre-Budget Consultations, calling explicitly for an end to austerity and privatization, and demanding a budget for full employment, expanded public services, equality, and progressive tax reform. The CPC(O) notes the devastating impact austerity policies have had on the working class – rapid and widespread growth of precarious employment, plant closures resulting in over 8000 jobs lost, lost wages and benefits, deep cuts to programs, and soaring costs for services including child care and tuition. At the same time, corporate profits have spiked, rising from $156 billion in 2008 to a projected $306 billion for 2017. Profits The Royal Bank of Canada alone announced a profit of $11.5 billion for the third quarter of 2017. The Communist Party submission also positions issues of inequality and oppression as budget priorities. The pre-budget consultations are taking place at a time of resurgent fascism and growing racism, widespread harassment and violence against women, as well as a deep and continuing gender wage gap. To confront and change this situation, the Communist Party identifies key budget priorities such as a shorter work week with no loss in take-home pay, further increases to the minimum wage, expansion of public services and publicly-owned industries, a ban on temporary employment agencies, enforced pay and employment equity, and significant increases to social assistance rates. The Party is also calling for expansions to public transit and public healthcare, increased funding to public services, a needs-based funding formula for public education and an end to funding to Catholic schools, a massive provincial housing program, a provincial system of universally accessible and quality public childcare, funding to anti-oppression and equity-seeking programs, and strong action on climate change and environmental protection. (more…)

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Austerity

Solidarity with striking college faculty in Ontario #standwithfaculty

The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) extends its full support to the 12,000 college faculty, members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), who are on strike at Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAATs) across the province. The strike began on October 16, after the College Employer Council (CEC) rejected a streamlined final offer from the union and walked away from the table. The offer, described by the union as “bare minimum we need to ensure quality education for students and treat contract faculty fairly,” included non-monetary proposals such as stronger recognition of academic freedom, improved seniority provisions, and longer notice periods for teaching contracts and work assignments. The key demand in the union’s offer is for a 50:50 ratio of full-time to non-full-time faculty. This is a response to the colleges’ increasing reliance on part-time and contract teaching positions. Between 2004 and 2016 part-time college faculty increased by a huge 45%, while full-time faculty only increased by 15%. Currently, part-time and precariously employed faculty now outnumber full-time faculty by almost three times. (more…)

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Austerity

The 2014 Budget: “People’s Needs, Not Corporate Greed! Another Ontario is Possible!”

The 2014 provincial budget was clearly an election budget aimed to position the Liberals to the left of the NDP on a range of social policy issues. These include the proposed defined benefit pension plan, increases to the child benefit program and the extension of free dental services to impoverished children, cost of living increases to the minimum wage, a small increase to single recipients of Ontario Works, and small wage increases to Personal Support Workers. The 10-year, $29 billion investment in infrastructure renewal and jobs, a portion of which were to be earmarked for youth employment, would have provided significant economic stimulus and jobs, and improved urban and inter-urban public transportation. $11.4 billion was set aside for hospital construction, and another $11.1 billion for School Boards to repair aging schools and build new ones. The budget also proposed a miniscule corporate tax increase, eliminating the tax break of 7% on the first $500,000 of income (currently taxed at the small business tax rate of 4.5%). It also projected a small tax increase for the 2% of the population with incomes over $150,000. But the budget was clearly a Big Business budget, with privatization at the core of the funding proposals, the transformation of many public services into private public partnerships (AFR’s), and the promise of future deep cuts to the corporate tax rate, from the current 11.5% down to 10%. Public sector layoffs and wage cuts are built-in, implicit in a package that contains continued restraints to operating budgets in hospitals and healthcare, public and post-secondary education, and social programs. This is the Drummond Report, implemented over 10 years. (more…)

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