Skip to main content

P3 fiasco: Windsor Star calls for resignation of Minister & review by AG

The Windsor Star has called for the resignation of the Health Minister over the Windsor long term care public-private partnership (P3) that recently fell apart.  The Star has also called for a review of the project by the Auditor General.

The Grace Hospital saga continued this week as a Ministry of Health spokeswoman admitted the province was "not aware" developer Lou Vozza was facing a mountain of civil judgments in 2009, just as the Liberals were expanding the scope of his contract to build a longterm care facility.

As the number of claims against Vozza became public - almost 30 parties were registered in Superior Court on June 24, the day the contract was finally cancelled - the sense of disbelief continued to grow.

How was it possible that Health Minister Deb Matthews, who just three weeks ago expressed faith in Vozza's ability to get the job done, would be oblivious to his financial woes from the get-go?

How could she be "very pleased" with his progress on June 11 when the government's own Ministry of Revenue had registered more than $63,000 in liens against the property just six weeks before? And how could anyone at Queen's Park not be up to speed after almost four years of delays and broken promises?....

The lack of due diligence at all levels is shocking; even more so since it goes back so many years. When the province upped Vozza's contract by 90 beds in February 2009, there were already court judgments of $1 million in unpaid bills against him. He hadn't paid city taxes in five years and had millions of dollars in mortgages.

It would have been simple to check on Vozza's financial status, had someone wanted to do so....

By not gathering the pertinent data, Matthews has done harm to the frail elderly patients who are supposed to be living on the Grace site today. She's failed Ontario taxpayers and jeopardized health care services in Windsor and Essex County.

Along with Matthews' resignation, the provincial auditor must fully investigate what went wrong. That review can't wait until after the election. It must start now.

Unfortunately, missing from the Star's editorial is any recognition that this is a P3 private fiance project or that the government (and likely the PCs who support more privatization) plan to increase the use of privatized P3s.

In his first review of a P3, the Auditor General exposed major problems with the Brampton Civic Hospital P3, echoing most of the concerns raised by the Ontario Health Coalition (and OCHU) earlier.  


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…