(Toronto) OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas today released the following statement:
“In today’s Auditor General’s Special Report on Community Care Access Centres, Bonnie Lysyk says the government has to take ‘a hard look’ at how home- and community-based health care and related support services are provided in Ontario.
‘A hard look’ is the auditor general’s way of saying the system is broken and needs a total overhaul. We agree. The current system cheats Ontario residents of the quality of care they deserve. Too much money is diverted to executive paycheques and profits. Only 61 per cent of the government’s money actually goes to face-to-face treatment of patients.
Contracting out services to third-party organizations means that a thick layer of for-profit fat, which previously did not exist, was introduced to Ontario’s home care system. The result is that patients are receiving poorer care and health care professionals are seeing good jobs destroyed.
OPSEU has first-hand experience with this in our five-month strike against CarePartners. Some of their nurses are being paid less than minimum wage.
With the current system, the level of service varies widely from region to region. If you are lucky, you live in a CCAC region that treats patients responsibly. A similar patient 100 kilometres away could be getting poor care. This luck-of-the-draw is unacceptable in a publicly funded system.
We need a transparent system that makes patients’ needs the top priority. All service providers contracted by CCACs should be required to open their books. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
It will be a big job to build a proper home-care system in Ontario. Our members are keen to help build the best system in Canada.”