The deadline at Elections Ontario has now passed to apply to be a Candidate in the upcoming Provincial Election and there are six candidates. I asked all six four questions with the first question being “What are your Policies to improve the Province’s Health System?” All six responded. There is a limit of 250 words per response – some used all 250 while others were more succinct. It’s clearly a question of interest since each candidate (or party) has something to say. Note that for official information on eligibility to vote and voting locations (when known), see the official site of Elections Ontario – advanced voting starts May 19. (See Resources below).
The sequence of responses below will vary with each question – this first one is in last name alphabetical order.
Joshua Chalhoub – New Blue Party
Ontario’s healthcare system is in a state of crisis, with a growing population, the need for physicians and medical resources is staggering. Healthcare in rural parts of Ontario has been exacerbated by an ageing population, influx of new residents relocating due to climbing housing prices in urban cities and a shortage of affordable housing. There are inequalities in how provincial funding is being distributed which has rendered access to care extremely scarce. Provincial healthcare budget cuts have left rural hospitals compromised, struggling to meet the increased demand. Every Ontarian deserves dignity and respect in accessing medical care regardless of where they live. It is not acceptable that patients should be travelling across wide landscapes to seek medical care. Inability to access local medical care means unavoidable higher rates of premature deaths coupled with compromised treatment and in some regions, no local healthcare providers at all.
Healthcare budgets must be consistently maintained, and increased to reflect demographics, population and socioeconomic needs within those communities. We are not seeing health equity in many rural parts of Ontario due to the lack of leadership and innovation. Building a better healthcare system means reaching out to residents, community-based organizations and municipalities to devise region specific infrastructure that leaves no community behind.
Addressing the inequalities requires the creation of regional committees to develop sustainable plans to deliver accessible health care. Rehiring terminated nurses, and providing incentives for new doctors is prudent. Government must build relationships with local communities and health care professionals to bridge the gap.
Lisa Francis – Green Party
The Ontario Greens’ vision for Ontario is one that cares for its people and the planet we live on.
We will prioritise prevention in our healthcare system, create a robust system of primary care, invest in healthcare workers, support strong hospitals, protect public health, fulfill remote and rural healthcare needs, and build a more equitable healthcare system. Ontario Greens’ support a publicly funded, publicly delivered healthcare system and oppose further privatisation of care. Our vision puts the dignity of people ahead of private profits or government red tape.
We will increase primary care options with community health centres and nurse-practitioner-led clinics for 24/7 access to non-urgent care.
We will establish a nurse-led task force to make recommendations on matters related to the recruitment, retention, and safety of nurses.
We will immediately repeal Bill 124 and the problematic sections of Bill 106 and until then, we will provide a minimum hourly wage of $35 to registered practical nurses and $25 to personal support workers.
We will increase year-over-year hospital base operating funding to a minimum of 5%, and work with the federal government to provide surge funding to address the backlog of surgeries.
Vanessa Head – Ontario Party
An Ontario Party government will :
- Permit non-profit organizations and private corporations to build, own, and manage hospitals and will permit citizens to hold supplemental, private medical insurance.
- Provide funding for greater public hospital bed capacity and the hiring of thousands of more healthcare workers.
- Streamline the process for accreditation of foreign-trained healthcare professionals who have been trained in jurisdictions with similar accreditation standards as Canada.
- Open up more spots in Canadian medical schools, which have become notoriously challenging to gain entry. Many smart, young prospective Canadian medical students are travelling to schools in Ireland, the Caribbean and elsewhere, and then finding jobs in the USA. Time to keep these smart students at home.
- Explore broadening the role of nurse practitioners and the creation of other, new healthcare provider roles.
- Protect and assist private and charitable organizations providing alternatives to established medical providers when caring for individuals and families in crisis situations (e.g., Crisis Pregnancy Care Centres; Covid Care Alliance).
Jeff Kawzenuk – Liberal Party
- We will train/hire 100,000 nurses, doctors, and other health care workers.
- Invest $1 Billion to clear the surgical backlog.
- We will ensure everybody has access to a doctor or nurse within 24 hrs. Also, we will grow the number of hospital beds by 20%.
- $3 billion to train 3,000 new mental health and addictions professionals, including 1,000 mental health professionals for children.
- We will empower pharmacists to provide more basic services.
- We will repeal Bill 124.
Kim McArthur-Jackson – New Democratic Party
The Ontario NDP has a practical, doable plan to rebuild and strengthen health care in Ontario. We’re committed to making investments in critical services. We’ll make sure health care workers get the pay they deserve and launch a campaign to recruit, retain and return nurses and other health care workers to our hospitals and public health units, including areas like rural and northern communities.
As your elected MPP, together with the Ontario NDP as a team:
- We will continue our commitment to Universal, Publicly Funded Mental Health Care;
- We will reduce the waitlist for children’s mental health to 30 days;
- We will provide an immediate eight per cent funding boost for frontline mental health and addiction agencies and provide ongoing sustainable funding, and introduce targeted hospital funding to increase the number of Tier 5 treatment beds for people with complex needs;
- We’ll identify and publicize the number of delayed procedures and publish regular progress reports;
- We’ll expand operating room hours over the evenings and weekends to increase hospital capacity, engage in a health care worker hiring blitz, and create a centralized referral system. We’ll make sure this gets done without privatizing our health care system;
- We will provide dental care to every Ontarian;
- We will take immediate action to begin hiring 10,000 PSWs;
- We will give PSWs a raise of at least $5 above pre-pandemic levels;
- We will take immediate action to begin hiring 30,000 nurses;
To find out all of the important details please see our plan here
David Piccini – PC Party
We know our health care system matters. Delivering the best possible patient centred care for Ontarians remains a priority of our PC Government.
Our plan to protect our progress and our track record on investments in healthcare is a key pillar of this election. When we were first elected, our healthcare system was broken. And we made real investments to fix it.
I am proud to have been able to deliver on massive investments for our community to strengthen our local health care systems.
Here is my record:
Increased funding for our local hospitals;
- Supported community paramedicine programs in Peterborough, Clarington and Northumberland;
- Launched a rural outreach clinic in Colborne;
- Brought a helipad to Bowmanville;
- Increased operational funding to support hospitals through the pandemic;
- Invested a historic $5 million to Campbellford Memorial Hospital and supported the hospital with their redevelopment submission;
- Announced two NEW medical schools in our region to train more doctors for rural communities like ours;
- Expanded nursing seats for the first time in over 20 years in Ontario;
- Supported nurses with the largest pandemic retention pay in Canada.
and so much more…
The next question is:
- How will you make Housing more affordable? Answers will be published May 17
- Elections Ontario
- Provincial Election Information on Cobourg Internet – includes contact info for each candidate