Rick Blickstead, CEO of Wellesley Institute, appeared before the budget committee today. He highlighted that the health and well-being of all Torontonians must be the priority of the City of Toronto when making important budget decisions. Budget decisions that result in the loss of secure jobs, reduce access to services that people rely on, and that increases social and economic inequality are the wrong decisions for councillors to make.
Wellesley Institute evaluated the health implications of cuts over three key areas: public transit, student nutrition programs, and housing.
There are consequences to every cut. Transit cuts put people back in their cars and increases stressful traffic congestion and air pollution. Student nutrition program cuts deprive children of the proven improved academic achievements that result from regular and healthy meals, and the chance to develop good eating habits for a better life in the long run. Last, cuts to affordable housing development and the closure of shelters makes an already bad situation worse.
Equal societies perform better. We are no longer strangers to this idea. There is a growing crisis of inequality in Canada. However, in Toronto, city councillors have choices they can make to build Toronto into a more equitable city without cutting services and raising user-fees.
There are options that support a healthy and vibrant city, one that we all want to live in.
Read our deputation to the Budget Committee on the 2012 Operating Budget