QUEEN’S PARK – The Financial Accountability Office (FAO) report found that the Ford Conservatives’ plan will fall $21.3 billion short of the funding needed for hospitals, home care, and long-term care unless the government immediately changes course.
“Ford continues to put profiteers ahead of patients,” said Opposition Leader, Marit Stiles. “Conservatives say their plan is working but today’s report shows what too many Ontarians already know – it's not. His ideological push to privatize will only make things worse.”
“When it comes to health care, Ford has fundamentally failed Ontarians,” said France Gélinas (Nickel Belt), NDP Health critic. “Year after year, Ford has refused to fund the health care services that all Ontarians deserve, and support the health care workers who care for us in times of need. Unless Ford makes a change right now, Ontario will have less hospital capacity and less long-term care capacity in 2028 than we did a decade ago. This $21 billion funding shortfall is only part of the story – the larger problem is a health care staffing shortage created by the Ford government.”
The report found that under the government’s current plan, Ontario will still be short 30,000 personal support workers (PSWs) and 500 hospital beds. It also found that surgery capacity needs to be increased by 12 per cent to meet the government’s own inadequate targets, just to get waitlists back to the huge pre-pandemic levels.
“Ford’s failure to fund our health care system is an abdication of his responsibility as Premier,” said Catherine Fife (Waterloo), NDP Finance critic. “The 2023 budget is rapidly approaching, and Ford must take today’s report as a dire warning to change course. The FAO’s report clearly reveals that if Ford does not alter its funding plan, wait times will grow, LTC demand will spiral, and the shortage of PSWs will impact home care, long-term care, and community care. The good news is that Ford has enough money squirreled away in contingency funds to meet the funding demands right now”.
Findings from the FAO report include:
- A record high of 107,000 ‘long waiters’, people waiting beyond the maximum recommended time for a specific surgery
- A shortage of 30,000 PSWs which will impact long-term care and home care
- A surge in demand for long-term care as the population ages
- A lack of operating funds and health care workers who can maintain hospital beds.
“Ontarians need a functioning, well-funded, publicly available health care system that is there when we need it,” said Gélinas. “That’s what people in this province deserve. The Ontario NDP are listening to calls of health care staff and the warnings of the FAO. We will ensure that Ford is held to account for this lack of leadership.”