Ontario health minister won’t rule out privatization as option to help ER crisis

Ontario’s health minister isn’t ruling out privatization in health care as the government looks at ways to deal with a major staff shortage straining hospitals across the province.

When asked if the government is considering privatization, Sylvia Jones says “all options are on the table.”

Emergency departments across Ontario have had to close for hours or days at a time this summer, which health-care officials say is due to a nurse staffing crisis.

Jones says she has been in talks with hospital corporations across the province in an effort to fix the problem.

In a statement Wednesday, Ontario Opposition New Democratic Party health care critic France Gélinas said the party was “horrified” to hear that privatization is under consideration.

“We are now deeply concerned that the reason this Conservative government is refusing to act on the health care crisis is because they’d rather just privatize health care,” Gélinas said.

Jones has said the government is exploring “innovation and opportunities” in Ontario, and is considering changes to the health system but has not specified what those would be. 

Advocates have urged Premier Doug Ford to repeal public sector wage restraint legislation that he introduced in 2019, saying it is harming efforts to recruit and retain nurses.

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