Mr. Speaker, since it took office the Ontario government has slashed the budget of its ministry of the environment by 42.5%.
Regional enforcement staff were cut from 2,400 to 1,500. Water quality monitoring facilities in the province were reduced from 700 to 200. The closing of three regional labs further reduced the ministry's analytical abilities.
Furthermore, the Ontario government cancelled 400,000 tests it had been conducting yearly, downloading this service to municipalities. The axe of the Ontario government also fell on the drinking water surveillance program which reported regularly on municipal drinking water quality.
The result is that the network of water testing laboratories, water scientists and laboratory technicians who knew how to manage clean water in Ontario has been broken up. What a shame.