Skip to main content

Harper promises on health funding fall short -- But how about those Liberals?

Premier McGuinty has called for a ten year deal on federal health care funding.

Right now, the federal government provides more than $10 billion through the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) for public health care in Ontario.  That is a lot of cash, almost a quarter of total provincial government health care spending.

Under the existing ten year agreement with the provinces, originally negotiated in 2004, federal government increases added over $800 million in new health care funding for the province of Ontario this year alone.  But the accord runs out in 2014 and the Harper Conservatives  failed to make any solid commitment to continue to increase the CHT prior to the election call.  In fact., they did not even mention the CHT in their party program.

The end of the current CHT "escalator" would be a devastating blow to public health care.

Thankfully, the election campaign has forced the Conservatives to change this line and promise to increase federal health care funding at the same rate -- sort of.

As it stands, the outgoing Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty only promised two more years of increased funding.  But what happens after that  is anyone's guess.  So McGuinty's call for a ten-year deal is very much to the point.

Notably, however, the increases in health care spending the McGuinty government has delivered over the last two years fall far short of the increases in federal health care funding.  And the increases the McGuinty government projects for the future fall shorter still.

I might add that the federal Liberals also failed to put CHT increases into their election program.  That's a pretty major omission.

And even Michael Ignatieff's new letter on health care (that attacks Harper for falling short on the the CHT) only promises to maintain the CHT escalator "beyond 2014".

That's about as vague as Flaherty's commitment.  And it falls far short of a promise of a ten-year deal, as called for by McGuinty on April 15th.

For more on Stephen Harper's long standing attacks on public health care see Murray Dobbin's new article on or Tom Walkom's piece in today's Star.  


Popular posts from this blog

Public sector employment in Ontario is far below the rest of Canada

The suggestion that Ontario has a deficit because its public sector is too large does not bear scrutiny. Consider the following. 

Public sector employment has fallen in the last three quarters in Ontario.  Since 2011, public sector employment has been pretty flat, with employment up less than 4 tenths of one percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the first half of 2011.

This contrasts with public sector employment outside of Ontario which has gone up pretty consistently and is now 4.7% higher than it was in the first half of 2011.

Private sector employment has also gone up consistently over that period. In Ontario, it has increased 4.3% since the first half of 2011, while in Canada as a whole it has increased 4.9%.

As a result, public sector employment in Ontario is now shrinking as a percentage of the private sector workforce.  In contrast, in the rest of Canada, it is increasing. Moreover, public sector employment is muchhigher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario.  Indeed as…

The long series of failures of private clinics in Ontario

For many years, OCHU/CUPE has been concerned the Ontario government would transfer public hospital surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests to private clinics. CUPE began campaigning in earnest against this possibility in the spring of 2007 with a tour of the province by former British Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who talked about the disastrous British experience with private surgical clinics.

The door opened years ago with the introduction of fee-for-service hospital funding (sometimes called Quality Based Funding). Then in the fall of 2013 the government announced regulatory changes to facilitate this privatization. The government announced Request for Proposals for the summer of 2014 to expand the role of "Independent Health Facilities" (IHFs). 

With mass campaigns to stop the private clinic expansion by the Ontario Health Coalition the process slowed.  

But it seems the provincial Liberal government continues to push the idea.  Following a recent second OCHU tour wi…

Hospital worker sick leave: too much or too little?

Ontario hospital workers are muchless absent due to illness or disability than hospital workers Canada-wide.  In 2014, Ontario hospital workers were absent 10.2 days due to illness or disability, 2.9 days less than the Canada wide average – i.e. 22% less.  In fact, Ontario hospital workers have had consistently fewer sick days for years.

This is also true if absences due to family or personal responsibilities are included.
Statistics Canada data for the last fifteen years for Canada and Ontario are reported in the chart below, showing Ontario hospital workers are consistently off work less.
Assuming, Ontario accounts for about 38% of the Canada-wide hospital workforce, these figures suggest that the days lost due to illness of injury in Canada excluding Ontario are about 13.6 days per year ([13.6 x 0.68] + [10.2 x 0.38] = 13.1).

In other words, hospital workers in the rest of Canada are absent from work due to illness or disability 1/3 more than Ontario hospital workers. 

In fact, Canad…