Mayor outlines Kingston’s submissions for Ontario’s pre-budget consultations

Photo by Josie Vallier.

The City of Kingston is again participating in the Ontario government’s pre-budget consultations – making a pitch through a written submission on what the City wants to see in the 2024 provincial budget.

According to a release from the Office of Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson, “the City is asking the province to get back to the basics’” by: 

  • Declaring access to primary care a crisis in Ontario and act!
  • Fixing the failing mental health and addictions continuum of care and lack of treatment. 
  • Building resilient and strong downtowns to support our small businesses. 
  • Investing in the necessary water & wastewater infrastructure to support provincial housing targets. 
  • Committing to a new municipal social and fiscal relationship. 

“Municipalities are resilient front-line administrators, partners, public health experts, housing developers, mental health and addictions advocates, health care contributors, problem solvers, innovators and more,” Mayor Paterson said in a statement.

“However, we can’t continue to take on responsibilities for other levels of government — to use limited municipal dollars into areas of provincial and federal jurisdictions like health care.”

Just last month, Kingston City Council passed a motion requesting a “comprehensive review” of the provincial-municipal fiscal arrangement.

Citing the fact municipal contributions to “areas of provincial responsibility” outpace the provincial government’s contributions by “nearly $4 billion” annually, the motion argued that the current provincial-municipal fiscal arrangement is “undermining Ontario’s economic prosperity and quality of life.”

According to the release, the City’s submission outlines the access to primary care as a critical tipping point for the community – with Kingston investing municipal property taxes to incentivize primary care physicians, competing with other communities across Ontario and Canada.

“We know this is a big issue in Ontario because we’re seeing it in almost every community – so we’re asking the province to fund more medical school spaces, train more physicians, change the billing model to incentivize primary care practices, reduce duplication in the system, remove barriers to primary care practices, create more nurse practitioner led clinics with more prescription capabilities,” Paterson stated.

The matter of the physician shortage locally is scheduled to be discussed at the next meeting of City Council, with a report on Kingston’s family physician/primary care recruitment efforts from the City’s CAO Lanie Hurdle on the agenda for the Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2024, meeting.

The provincial government’s budget consultations wrap up in early March and the 2024 Ontario Budget is expected to be unveiled in Queen’s Park in the next few months. According to the release, Mayor Paterson is also advocating for Kingston’s Ontario budget priorities through his work on the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Board and the Ontario Big City Mayor’s Caucus (OBCM).

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