Duty to consult with First Nations
Obligation de consulter les Premières nations

March 22, 2023

Ontario is ignoring its duty to consult First Nations

France Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt, rose in the legislature this morning to point out the Ford government’s duty to properly consult with the First Nation’s communities based in Ontario.

“Speaker, this morning, I was on the phone with Gimaa Craig Nootchtai, the Chief of Atikameksheng Anishinabek. His people’s traditional territories are home to almost all the mines in Nickel Belt; mines that play a big part in paying for this government’s upcoming budget. Gimaa Nootchtai and his council were invited to an information session on Bill 71: The Building More Mines Act. They put a lot of time and efforts preparing for this information session, as Bill 71 will have multi-generational implications for their people. Gimaa Nootchtai and his team were shocked when the government declared after the start of the information session that this virtual meeting was actually a consultation session. That meeting was the government’s idea of satisfying its duty to consult with First Nations on Bill 71. Gimaa Nootchtai said, and I quote: “I told them that “consultation” should have started when the proposed changes were first conceptualized so that we could truly participate in drafting legislation that directly affects our lands and rights.”

This government has a duty to consult First Nations, why are they not taking their responsibilities seriously? Why is it, that this government seems bound and determined to continue to treat First Nation people with such disrespect? This must change, when will this government consult with Atikameksheng Anishinabek on the changes to the mining act?”
According to the Ford government Bill 71, Building More Mines Act, 2023 will make opening a new mine faster and cheaper.

Pay Equity for Midwives
Équité salariale pour les sages-femmes

March 8, 2023

Will the government give midwives pay equity?

During question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked the Premier if the government will listen to the courts and tribunals, and give midwives pay equity?

“You will remember in 1994, the NDP brought midwifery to Ontario. We gave Ontario families access to midwives for free and we paid the midwives respectfully. After 16 years of Conservative and Liberal governments (year 2000), midwives faced a $100,000 pay equity gap. No matter the analysis that the midwives presented, the Liberal and the Conservative governments refused to listen to these women. So the midwives launched multiple appeals in the courts and in the human rights tribunal. You know what, Speaker? They won each and every one of those appeals. The tribunal sided with the midwives and ordered the government to pay. Yet, we are now in 2023. It is International Women’s Day. Will this Conservative government do the right thing, respect the tribunal, respect midwives and give them pay equity?” Gélinas asked.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in favour of midwives pay equity on June 13, 2022, a decision which the government stated it would not appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada. The decision came after nine years of appeals in courts and tribunals.

Concerns about Schedule 2 of Bill 60
Préoccupations concernant l’annexe 2 du projet de loi 60

March 7, 2023

Bill 60’s schedule 2 more than concerning

This morning in the Queen’s Park Media Studio MPP France Gélinas and the Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition spoke with reporters about their concerns with Schedule 2 of Bill 60; the Ford government’s bill to move surgeries into corporate controlled for-profit surgical suites.

“Currently the titles of physician, nurse, registered practical nurse, respiratory therapist, laboratory technician are all protected titles for health professionals that are supervised by a health college. The college ensures that the title is held by a professional with prescribed level of education, experience and is registered’’ Gélinas stated. “Schedule 2 of Bill 60 allows these titles to be used by people who are not registered members of a regulatory health college.”

Schedule 2 of Bill 60 states “physician” means a legally qualified medical practitioner who is lawfully entitled to practice medicine in Ontario or another prescribed person. The government has yet to release any draft regulations that would indicate who that another prescribed person would be. In order for people to receive quality care they need to trust that the physician or the nurse or the respiratory therapist in front of them have the knowledge and the skills of that profession.

Merha said “This legislation is already, in our opinion, horrible legislation as it brings in the privatization of core services from our public hospitals; however, there was no real need for this legislation as the government already had tools to make these changes. This schedule (2) is a shocking deregulation of a range of health care providers, from surgeons and physicians, through every class of nurses, x-ray technologist, respiratory therapists, and laboratory technologist. They’ve deregulated all those professionals and will leave it to regulations to prescribe who can call themselves a surgeon, who can call themselves a nurse and so on.”

Bill 60 has passed second reading and will be brought before the Ontario Legislature’s Social Policy Committee for public comment on March 20th and 21st.

Overcrowding Hospitals affects patient care
La surpopulation des hôpitaux affecte les soins aux patients

March 7, 2023

Overcrowding in our hospitals affects patient care

This morning during question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked the Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones what the government has to say to families who have suffered because of the overcrowding of Ontario’s hospitals.

“Since the Ford’s government came into power, they have talked a whole lot about solving the overcrowding problem in our hospitals. Unfortunately, last week in Collingwood, a 32-year-old father was seriously injured at work. He fell victim to the overcrowding problem the government has not dealt with. It took almost eight hours from the time of his accident until they were able to locate a hospital with a vacant ICU bed to care for him. What does the government have to say to the families who are victims to the overcrowding problem they promised to fix 5 years ago?’’ Gélinas asked.

On March 1st Global news reported a small business owner from Angus, On. fell onto concrete while working in Collingwood. No hospital anywhere closer than London had an ICU bed available leading, to an eight hour wait to receive necessary urgent care. The surgery was unsuccessful, and the man did not recover.

“The health care workers crisis in our hospitals is real, the overcrowding of our hospitals is real. They have a direct impact on the care available to people. This time the consequences are a dead worker, a young widow and a fatherless 2 year old son. How many more families will be broken before your government address the health care workers crisis in our overcrowded hospitals?”

On February 7, 2023, a report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario showed that $6.8 billion allocated in the Provincial Budget is not being spent on the services it was designated for, like healthcare and education.

Lifelabs allowed to fail Ontarians
Lifelabs : un échec pour les Ontarien-nes

Why is LifeLabs Allowed to Continually Fail Ontario’s Patients?

December 6, 2022

During question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked the Minister of Health, whether LifeLabs is providing good service to Ontario’s patients?

“Linda Luyt from Sudbury is an endometrial cancer survivor. She requires annual PAP tests by her oncology team. She had her test done on October 18. Usually, it takes 3 sometimes up to 6 weeks for the results to come in, but last week, when she called her doctor, she was told results are now taking 6 months to come in.

Minister is 6 months an acceptable amount of time to wait for a cancer diagnostic test result?’’

A recent report from the CBC shows that women across Ontario are waiting months for results from PAP tests. The Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario confirms that private for profit laboratories are short-staffed.

“When cancer patients must wait six months for test results it often means much more intensive and expensive treatments as well as increased risk of harm. Ontario laboratory services are now dominated by LifeLabs, a private for-profit company. In my riding LifeLabs offers terrible customer service. They let frail elderly people wait outside in minus 20 weather, they have minimum staffing, minimum hours of operation and huge delays for test results.

Does the Minister agree that privatization, of our lab services, has made services worst?”

In her 2017 report Ontario’s Auditor General stated there was no provincial target, data collection or monitoring of wait times for laboratory services. She also stated that laboratory service providers set their own wait-time targets.

Protect our Blood Supply
Protéger nos réserves de sang

December 1, 2022

Minister Jones Must Protect Our Blood Supply

MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) rose in the legislature to make a statement on World AIDS Day, reminding the government of the Krever Commission and the importance of protecting Ontario and Canada’s blood supply.

“Speaker, today, December 1st is World AIDS Day. The most important message AIDS taught Canadians is the importance of protecting our blood supply. The AIDS virus in our blood supply unknowingly infected hundreds of Canadians who received blood transfusions in the 1980s, leading to the “Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada” better known as the Krever Inquiry. The report concluded “that blood is a public resource, that donors should not be paid, that Canada must increase self-sufficiency in all blood and blood products and that no part of the national blood operator’s duties should be contracted out.”

In 2014 a private company was preparing to open paid plasma collection centres in Toronto and Hamilton. Recognizing the threat, the previous government passed the Voluntary Blood Donations Act. I was proud to vote in favour of that bill, along with our current Minister of Health, Minister Jones and eight members of the current government, to shut these clinics down.

Now, 8 years later, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) has signed a deal with Grifols Pharmaceuticals that contracts out plasma collection to that for-profit company. We must remember the Canadians who got sick, all those who died and the recommendations of the Krever Inquiry. The Ontario Minister of Health is the lead supervisor of Canadian Blood Services. She has a duty to act right now to protect Ontarians and Canadians by shutting down this deal. For profit plasma collection put people’s lives at risk, will the Minister act now before it is too late.

It was announced in September that CBS had signed an agreement with Grifols, a company headquartered in Spain, to meet national targets for plasma supply by collecting paid-for plasma. In 2014, Minister of Health Sylvia Jones, Minister of Housing Steve Clarke, Minister of Energy Todd Smith, Minister of Agriculture Lisa Thompson, Speaker of the House Ted Arnott, MPPs Bailey, Hardeman, Scott and Yakabuski all voted in favour of the Voluntary Blood Donations Act.

Stop Stalling on Emergency Services
Cesser de bloquer les services d’urgence

November 29, 2022

Ford Government’s Stalling on Emergency Services Leaves Ontarians Waiting

This morning during question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked the Premier what Ontario was doing to improve emergency services across Ontario.

“Lately in the City of Greater Sudbury, 40% of a paramedic’s time is spent waiting to offload patients to Health Sciences North overcrowded emergency department. The City of Greater Sudbury is huge, if an ambulance and the paramedics are stuck at the hospital, that leaves the good people of Beaver Lake, Wahnapitae First Nation or Levack up to one hour away from emergency services.

Does the Premier think it is OK to leave the people of my riding waiting up to one hour for paramedical emergency care to arrive?’’ Gélinas asked.

Greater Sudbury Paramedic Services is responsible for seamless coverage of approximately 9,221 square kilometres and respond to about 32,000 calls per year. They provide pre-hospital care for illness and injury, community Paramedicine, medical assistance at large events and gatherings, community outreach and education.

“Paramedic effectiveness is directly linked to the quality of the dispatch system which sends them to the call. Did you know that Ontario is the only province that doesn’t have 911 everywhere? Every year in my riding people in distress find that out 911 is not available. The paramedics are there but you need to dial a 1-800 number that nobody knows.

When is the premier going to modernize our province’s emergency dispatch system to ensure 911 service is available everywhere in Ontario?”

A 2018 Coroner’s Jury Inquest recommended modernization of Ontario’s 9-1-1 system in the interest of saving lives; many areas in Ontario still require the dialing of a different 10-digit number to access fire, police or paramedic services.

Paying Out of Pocket to Gain Access to Care is Wrong
L’injustice c’est de payer des frais pour l’accès aux services de santé

November 28, 2022

$290 For a Child to Gain Access to a Physician is Wrong!

During question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked the Minister of Health her rational for letting private enterprises charge high fees to people in order to gain access to physician’s phone consultations as emergency rooms are backlogged and overwhelmed?

“On November 21st, the government sent a letter directing Primary Care Organizations to offer clinical services 7 days a week, including evenings due to “high-volume pressures across our health system”. But starting this Thursday people with sick children will have to pay. Here is what Gail Kirk had to say: “I guess my Christmas presents to my 4-year-old granddaughter and my 4-month-old grandson will be a $290 annual subscription to KixCare. Gramma who lives on CPP and OAS will have to do the government’s job of ensuring access to health care. If this is your idea of improving access, then get out of politics.” What would the minister like to say to Mrs. Gail Kirk?”

Last week CBC Toronto reported a virtual pediatric clinic which had previously provided services without charge was changing their business model to a subscription-based service.

“Mrs. Gail Kirk is not the only one worried about the change coming on December 1st. Sara from Nickel Belt lives with a disability she wrote to me concerned with these changes. She writes “my kids are away at school, my parents are elderly and live in a rural area with no wifi; I can’t emphasize enough how much we depended on phone GP appointments. I’m really concerned my very ill parents will contract COVID at their doctor’s office, and that seems unnecessary and ludicrous.”

Speaker, is decreasing access to telephone consultations during a time of “urgent system pressures” ludicrous, or is it another proof that the Minister is trying to push patients to private services where they pay out of pocket to gain access to the care they need?”

On November 28, the Ford government voted down a bill sponsored by MPP Gélinas which would have increased oversight of clinics who charge unfair fees for access to healthcare services.

Listen to Health Care Workers
Écouter aux travailleurs et travailleuses de la santé

November 24, 2022

Will the Minister Listen to Our Province’s Healthcare Workers?

During question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked the Minister of Health, when will she listen to our province’s overworked health care workers?

“The Ontario Association of Medical Radiation Sciences is here today. They represent radiation therapists, sonographers, and radiological, nuclear medicine and MRI technologists. They are the health care professionals who perform critical diagnostic tests and therapy on the front lines of our health care system.

They recently polled their members who said.. they are overworked, burned out, and facing the same staffing shortages as all professionals working in health care right now. This is a message that all health care workers are trying to get the government to acknowledge and respond to. Minister, how long before the government takes action to deal with this health human resources crisis in medical radiation sciences?’’

The Ford government continues to ignore calls for the withdrawal of Bill 124, a bill which froze the wages of all public sector workers and has been cited as one of the main causes of the human resources crisis in Ontario’s health services.

“The Association of Medical Radiation Sciences is just the latest group of health professionals raising concerns about understaffing. The backlog of diagnostic MRIs and CAT scans will not improve without them.

Today, representatives from 295,000 health care workers are here to try to get the government to pay attention to this crisis, to listen to their solutions. Will the minister agree to listen to health representatives from OCHU, CUPE, ONA, OPSEU/SEFPO, Unifor and SEIU who are here today at Queen’s Park? They have solutions. Will you meet with them?”

Leaders from five major healthcare unions along with front-line care staff held a media conference today. They did so as all sectors of Ontario’s health care system are buckling under the weight of staff shortages. And to tell the Ford government that privatization is not the answer.

Withdraw Bill 7
Retirer le projet de loi 7

November 21, 2022

Treat Seniors with Respect, Withdraw Bill 7

During question period this morning MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked Premier Doug Ford to withdraw Bill 7, a bill which allows alternate level of care patients to be send to long term care homes not of their choosing, hundreds of kilometers away.

This morning the Ontario Health Coalition and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly announced a charter challenge against Bill 7. Bill 7 takes away the rights of frail elderly people to give consent and to keep their personal health information private. All week-end health care workers have been reaching out to me, social workers, nurses, physicians; they do not want to have to tell their patients that they have to pay $400 a day or move to a LTC home hundreds of kilometres away from their home. Many of them will quit their job, rather than do something that goes completely against their ethical and moral values. You see speaker, contrary to this government health care workers do not discriminate against frail elderly people, they care for them!

‘Will this government do the right thing and repeal bill 7’’ Gélinas asked. In September Gélinas wrote to Ontario Human Rights Commissioner Patricia DeGuire asking for recommendations regarding the rights seniors lost under this legislation (Bill 7).

This morning the Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition, Natalie Mehra was joined by the Executive Director of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, Graham Webb, to announce the two groups will be co-applicants to an Ontario Superior Court of Justice Charter Challenge. They are seeking the court to strike down Bill 7, as a violation of the fundamental rights of patients under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They were joined by their legal representative Benjamin Piper from the law firm Goldblatt Partners LLP.