THE DRUMMOND REPORT

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Economist Donald Drummond released his findings in the Drummond Report

The report, commissioned by the McGuinty government, recommends drastic cuts to public services and education. President Hammond releases a response the next day.

Statement from ETFO President Sam Hammond:

Last June, Premier McGuinty appointed economist Don Drummond to review Ontario’s public services with an eye to cutting costs.

ETFO is concerned that public sector jobs and salaries will be unfairly singled out by Drummond to reduce the provincial deficit. This is the message we took directly to the Drummond commission and all three parties at Queen’s Park in January.

There is no evidence that public sector salaries are out of line. Teacher salaries, for example, have been sensitive to economic trends and conditions and have closely followed the provincial inflation rate over the past 30 years.

The Drummond commission needs to review the continuing corporate tax cuts that this year will cost the government another $2.6 billion in revenue and assess the merit of economic investment in public infrastructure. These measures are better alternatives to reduce the deficit.

Public sector jobs contribute to sustaining our communities. Public sector program cuts will mean increased unemployment, reduced tax revenue, and less support for all citizens. It will also further widen the income gap in Ontario.

The media has speculated that the Drummond commission may be looking at rolling back primary class sizes and eliminating full-day kindergarten. This would be short-sighted and counterproductive.

These investments have helped make Ontario’s education system one of the best in the world. They are both essential investments in the future of our province.

There are other savings that would actually contribute to more productive and engaging classrooms. For example, EQAO testing could be eliminated or changed to a random-sample. We could also save money by reducing the data collection related to assessment in schools.

It’s important to remember that the Drummond recommendations are just that: recommendations. What we must be most concerned about are the policies that the government will include in the provincial budget.

Rest assured that ETFO will continue to speak out in defence of a strong public education system and public services that support all our communities.