MPP calls on Ford gov't to reverse cuts to after-school program for at-risk youth
Despite the lack of real violins, these students are learning how to be part of an orchestra.
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Thursday, August 23, 2018 10:31AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 23, 2018 12:19PM EDT
The NDP MPP for Parkdale-High Park is calling on the Ford government to reverse a decision to cut previously-promised funding to a Toronto after-school program for at-risk youth.
In a news release issued Thursday, Bhutila Karpoche said cutting the $500,000 in funding to Sistema Toronto, which provides free music education to 275 students and their families in neighbourhoods such as Parkdale, Jane-Finch, and East Scarborough, will have a “devastating” impact on Toronto communities.
“Instead of providing support to communities that are struggling with some of the highest child poverty rates in Toronto, Doug Ford’s government has decided to pull the rug out from under at-risk children,” Karpoche’s statement read.
"We need to be investing in community programs like Sistema Toronto that provide much-needed opportunities in priority neighbourhoods and help break the cycle of poverty.”
Sistema, which issued its own news release on Thursday morning, said the cuts will mean the organization will not be able to serve as many children in the community.
“The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport announced late last week that the Government of Ontario is cutting the $500,000 in funding promised to Sistema Toronto in May 2018,” the group said in the news release.
“The loss of funding means that Sistema Toronto will serve fewer at-risk children and support fewer of Toronto families living in poverty, leaving dozens of priority kids without any means to change their futures.”
In a statement sent to CP24 Thursday, the director of communications for MPP Sylvia Jones, the minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, blamed the previous Liberal government for the funding cut.
"The day the election was called, the previous minister committed funding to this organization without going through the proper approval process. Unfortunately, Sistema does not meet the criteria for this grant and is not eligible for funding. It is unfortunate that the Liberals put Sistema in this position," the statement read.
"We’re committed to supporting after school programs to help protect kids in high-risk areas. That’s why our government recently approved support to over 120 organizations to deliver no-cost or low-cost fun, safe, supervised activities to more than 21,000 students. These programs will be delivered at over 400 sites in high priority neighbourhoods across the province."