2008-09 Pre-Budget Submission to the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee: Pre-budget Hearings December 2008
December 18, 2008
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) appreciates the opportunity to participate in the pre-budget hearings conducted by the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. In the current context of economic slowdown and uncertainty, the fiscal policies adopted by the 2009 provincial budget will be particularly critical for Ontario's future economic and social development.
At the national level and in Ontario, we have moved beyond the longstanding refusal to consider deficit budgets. Few are advocating that we simply wait for the market to correct itself or cut taxes and leave it to the private sector to solve the current crisis. Economists from all quarters are looking to government for investments that will stimulate the economy and protect citizens from the severe effects of job loss and economic restructuring.
ETFO believes that it is also important for governments to be activist in terms of investing in social or human capital. Now is not the time to withdraw from commitments to poverty reduction or to reduce investments in education or other social programs. The future legacy of the McGuinty government will rest on the extent to which it commits to improve the wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens and adopts social policies that build long term capacity and sustainability. At its recent provincial policy conference, the Ontario Liberal Party held workshops that posed the question: "How do we ensure that every child in Ontario comes to school ready to learn and leaves with skills and experiences necessary to compete in a knowledge economy?" ETFO believes a significant part of the answer lies in the government moving ahead with its commitment to poverty reduction and to targeted investment in elementary education.