November 20th, 2023

NDP questions Ford Conservatives on payments to for-profit private clinics

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition NDP Long-Term Care Critic, MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls), questioned the Ford Conservatives during Question Period about the recent revelation that the government is paying for-profit private clinics substantially more than public hospitals for OHIP-covered surgeries:

"Last week, we learned this Conservative government is paying private, for-profit clinics two to four times more than they pay public hospitals for OHIP-covered surgeries," said MPP Gates. "Also, the former Minister of Health is now lobbying for Canada's biggest chain of private surgical clinics.

"This comes after a recent report that noted that expanding private surgeries will NOT reduce wait times," said Gates. "In fact, it will increase wait times for patients while worsening our staffing crisis in Ontario. Why is the Premier choosing to put profits for private clinics before care for patients in Ontario?"

Gates referenced a recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives that showed for-profit delivery of health care in the Province will worsen public sector staffing shortages, risks unlawful extra-billing, costs more, and may risk patient safety & care quality.

"This isn't the first time a Conservative government in Ontario privatized public care," said Gates. "The Mike Harris Conservatives did it with long-term care. Six thousand people died in long-term care during the pandemic – 78% were in private, for-profit facilities. The military was called into some of those homes – because some residents were dying of dehydration.

"The Premier then gifted those homes with legal protection so families couldn't sue them for negligence, and he gave some homes multi-decades-long license renewals. Why won't the Premier acknowledge the mistakes of the previous Conservative government, repeal Bill 60, and invest in our publicly funded, publicly-delivered, not-for-profit health care instead of the profits of private shareholders?"