Skip to main content

Posts

Hospital funding announcement falls short

Bowing to public pressure and the over-capacity crisis in our hospitals, the Ontario minister of health and long-term care, Eric Hoskins, announced Friday hospital funding of $187 million to deal with next year’s flu season.
While this is significant it is inadequate for several reasons:
The funding is for the next fiscal year. In other words, the minister is merely leaking information that would normally be released with the Budget.Most of this is not new money. Following pressure from labour and the community, the minister announced  $100 million for hospitals last fall to fund 1,200 beds.  But the government also made clear that money may not continue in the next fiscal year starting April 2018 -- the continuation of the funding would depend on the "budgetary process".  So this announcement merely confirms that this money will continue at least one more year and, positively, that they will increase the annual funding for this hospital bed …
Recent posts

Government plans to take $400 annually from every employee -- and give it to employers

The government plans to cut employer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums $2.4 billion per year.  This is funded by cuts to workers compensation, as discussed below.  Here's the plan to cut employer premiums laid out in the 2016 Budget documents:
The WSIB has taken significant steps to reduce costs, and its finances have been improved by growth in investment returns and insurable payrolls. After hitting a high of $14.2 billion in 2011, the unfunded liability was $6.8 billion as of the WSIB’s 2015 third quarter that ended September 30, 2015.  Due to progress made to date, employer premiums have not been increased for three years. In its ‘2015 Economic Statement,’ the WSIB estimated that when the unfunded liability component is removed from the premium rate, it will be able to deliver $2.4 billion annually in premium reductions. This would represent an average premium rate reduction of about 40 per cent, with the average premium rate declining from $2.46 per $100 of p…

Six more problems with Public Private Partnerships (P3s)

The Auditor General (AG) has again identified issues in her annual reportwhich reflect problems with Ontario health care capacity and privatization.   First, here are six key problems with the maintenance of the 16 privatized P3 ("public private partnership") hospitals in Ontario:
There are long-term ongoing disputes with privatized P3 contractors over the P3 agreements, including about what is covered by the P3  (or “AFP” as the government likes to call them) contract.The hospitals are required to pay higher than reasonable rates tothe P3 contractor for  maintenance work the contractor has deemed to be outside of the P3 contract. Hospitals are almost forced to use P3 contractors to do maintenance work the contractors deem outside of the P3 contract or face the prospect of transferring the risk associated with maintaining the related hospital assets from the private-sector company back to the hospitalP3 companies with poor perf…

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …

Public Sector Unionization Grows

The composition of the labour movement has fundamentally changed over the last twenty years. The article below reviews dramatic changes in public and private sector unionization and some surprising differences that have emerged between Ontario and the rest of Canada. Potential for growth is possible, even in the public sector.

Ontario has 1.3 million public sector workers and currently 943,000 of them are covered by a union. That means that 72.2% of public sector employees have union coverage.   
Since 1997, public sector union density has modestly increased from about 70% to 72% of total public sector employees.  With a significant increase in public sector employment also occurring over that period, there has been an increase in public sector union coverage from 652,000 to 943,000 employees– about a 47% increase in 19 years.




That still leaves another 363,000  unorganized public sector employees. Assuming that 10% of public sector employees are management (130,000) then there would be r…

More room for public spending in lead up to election

The 2016-17 Ontario Public Accounts came out yesterday – almost a month early. The Accounts finalize the books for 2016/17 and show that the deficit is down a further $500 million from the last estimate for 2016-17 (which was made in the spring in the 2017 Budget).  
The Shrinking Deficit: The deficit is now down below the billion dollar mark to $991 million.  That is a full $3.3 billion less than the estimate made in the 2016 Budget, continuing the long term trend by the Liberals to massively overestimate the deficit.  Contrary to those who have claimed the deficit was insurmountable, the real story is that it has been consistently overestimated for years. Revenue wobbles: Revenue did beat the 2016 Budget estimate for 2016/17  -- but only by $2.2 billion, 1.6% more than projected. The spring 2017 Budget estimated that revenue would beat the 2016 Budget projection by a larger figure -- $2.64 billion, 2% more than projected (albeit with a somewhat different accounting methodology). So th…

Public Health Restructuring Proposed

An “expert panel” appointed by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has now recommended the reduction in the number of Public Health boards from 36 to 14, matching the number of Local Health integration Networks (LHINs — provincially controlled regional bodies that oversee hospitals, long-term care, home care, and other health services).

The 36 currently existing public health units provide health promotion and disease prevention, health education, communicable disease control, immunization, screening services, and food premise inspections.  Each health unit is governed by a board of health and is administered by a medical officer of health who reports to the board. 

The boards are largely made up of elected representatives from the local municipal councils (and, in some cases, are the municipal council).  The MOHLTC cost-shares
the expenses with the municipalities, providing up to 75% of costs for ministry approved programs, 100% of costs for certain programs (e.g. Heal…