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Ford Government ’s Home Care Changes Dismantle Public Control, Risk Privatization: Health Coalition

Posted: June 3, 2020

(June 2, 2020)

By: Exchange Magazine

In a press conference at the Ontario Legislature from early March, spokespeople for the Ontario Health Coalition raised concerns about the Ford government’s new home care legislation that the Health Coalition reported is being rushed through the legislature at break – neck speed. The Bill, Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act 2020, was introduced last Tuesday, was rushed through First Reading, and is already in the final stages of its Second Reading debate. The Coalition is seeking answers as to whether or not there will be any public hearings on the legislation and is asking the Ford government to slow it down and consult with Ontarians, noting that the changes will impact more than 730,000 Ontarians who use home care services and many thousands more who require community care services.

Among the key concerns of the Health Coalition:

• The new legislation repeal s the existing home and community care l aw and transfers almost all of its key elements to regulation which can be changed by the Minister s of the F o rd government in C abinet without ever going to a vote in the Legislature.

• The new legislation dismantles all remaining public governance and control of home care and p ropo ses to hand it off to provider companies , including for – profit companies, that do not have public governance and accountability.

• There are no pr ovisions to i mprove access to care, equity, home care assessments , quality of care and s taffing shortages , and nothing that will stop the major problem of missed visi ts that risk people ’s safety.

• There are numerous provisions that would e xpand privatization not only of home care, but also potentially of parts of hospital and long – te rm care.

• The proposal frag ments care to a vast array of providers who would contract, sub – contract and run home care in different ways in different regions with very few public protections. I t does not “ integrate ” home and community care .

“This legislation has been created in the backrooms without any public consultation, ” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “It is being railroaded through at break – neck s peed before th e vast majority o f the more than 7 50,000 people i mpacted even know that it is happening. This is poor poli cy that benefits private interests seeking to increase their market share or their profit margin s but it does not serve the public inter est. ” “

The major problems in home care require improved ove rsigh t, responsiveness and public accountability, not the total disma nt ling of public oversight, ” s he added. “Handing more of home care over to private for – profit inte rests and expanding the scope for private for – profit companie s to take over residential care for Ontarians is a recipe for disaster. ”

The Coalition is calling on the Ford government to halt Bill 175 and consult with Ontarians to develop a public non – profit home care system that would integrate care and ensure it is provided in the public inter est. They are also calling fo r improve ment , not dev olution , of community care which has suffered through years of underfunding .

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