|This week, at the Board of Health, we discussed Toronto Public Health’s budget for the coming year.Before the pandemic, the way in which many people interacted with Toronto Public Health was through their public health education programs and frontline services. Some of these programs include diabetes prevention education, student nutrition, healthy pregnancy education, free emergency dental services and much more. These are important programs which have saved lives through early intervention and education.The 2023 Operating Budget for Toronto Public Health jeopardizes many of these programs.
At the beginning of the pandemic, units within Toronto Public Health and across the broader public service were mobilized to help with the response to COVID-19. These were meant to be emergency changes to help our City in an unprecedented situation. Now, almost three years after the beginning of the pandemic, we can and should be fully reinstating these crucial services. If we don’t, these programs could stand to lose their funding permanently.
At the Board’s meeting on Tuesday, I expressed my concerns about the potential impacts of continuing to divert funding from these programs and the danger it creates for the future of Toronto Public Health’s role as a service delivery agency.
As we continue through the 2023 Budget process, I will continue to advocate for services to be restored to their pre-pandemic levels.
All aspects of the City budget were impacted by the pandemic, but now that we should be returning to pre-pandemic service delivery levels, we must find a way to increase revenue. We need to move forward making investments, not choosing austerity, in order to build the city we want. I will continue to advocate for new revenue tools that allow us to build a great city.
Below, I’ve included some information on the 2022/2023 Winter Service Plan, winter recreation programs, and more updates.