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Ontario budget creates uncertainty for Hamilton childcare, public health programs

Ontario budget creates uncertainty for Hamilton childcare, public health programs - image
Don Mitchell / Global News

The provincial government’s changes to public health and subsidized childcare funding are expected to have a massive impact on the City of Hamilton.

READ MORE: Toronto and province at odds over size of public health cuts

General Manager of Healthy and Safe Communities Paul Johnson has told city council that he doesn’t have enough information to say how service levels will be affected or to give an exact budget impact, but he says it will be in the “low millions” this year.

Johnson says that once he was more information, he will be coming back to council to outline potential adjustments to the city’s previously approved 2019 operating budget.

READ MORE: Ontario looks to cut OHIP program covering emergency medical costs abroad

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He adds that city council will also need to “have a conversation with you about how we deal with this year’s service delivery, but more importantly, what your direction to us is heading into the 2020 budget.”

The Doug Ford government has changed cost-sharing ratios, leaving the city responsible for a larger percentage of the cost of mandated public health programs.

The city also, for the first time, takes on 20 per cent of the cost of subsidized childcare. That is a service which had been fully funded by Queen’s Park.

READ MORE: Hamilton had record number of overdose calls in March: paramedics

Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla warns that “we’re going to have to make a decision of whether or not we’re going to decrease services as it pertains to public health and/or childcare, or increase the impact on the general levy and by extension, the taxes that residents pay.”

WATCH: Public Health agencies across the province are bracing for deep budget cuts

Click to play video: 'Public Health agencies across the province are bracing for deep budget cuts' Public Health agencies across the province are bracing for deep budget cuts
Public Health agencies across the province are bracing for deep budget cuts – Apr 16, 2019

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