Staff cuts possible
Rumours of staff layoffs at Raisin Region Conservation Authority are premature.
“There is no question that funding cuts impact our budget,” says RRCA general manager Richard Pilon. “When our program funding is cut, we have to decide how we can adjust our budget to make up the shortfall. However, I cannot make any further comments about individual employees.”
Mr. Pilon adds: “It’s too early to tell as we are still waiting for the Provincial government to give us an answer on some other provincial funding we were expecting in 2019 and also what the Province is planning for 2020. It’s pretty difficult to make budget adjustments mid-year or plan for next year without this information.”
Like all conservation agencies in Ontario, the RRCA has seen its natural hazards funding from the province reduced by 50 per cent.
The provincial share of the RRCA’s $2.5 million budget will drop from $170,000 to $85,000 this year.
The province has halved the $7.4 million it had accorded the 36 conservation authorities. The South Nation Conservation Authority has seen its allocation drop from $176,000 to $91,000.
Summer jobs chopped
Meanwhile, the cuts to the conservation authorities’ programs for youth jobs and flood management “are taking away opportunities from young people, and putting communities in danger,” charges Judith Monteith-Farrell, NDP critic
for Natural Resources and Forestry. The Ministry of Natural Resources’ Summer Employment Opportunities Program for youth has been eliminated. “This program helped conservation authorities employ and mentor youth, and gain relevant experience for their careers,” says the MPP. “Why did this government cut the Youth Employment Program?”
She called the measures “shortsighted,” adding, “The ravages of climate crisis are evident all
around us, and conservation authorities are trying to respond to record flooding in our watersheds with less resources than they had before. These cuts put communities at risk.”