Fix Homecare, Compensate Workers
Réparer les soins à domicile, indemniser les travailleurs et travailleuses

November 18, 2022

Fixing Homecare Means Compensating Workers Properly

During question period Tuesday morning MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked the Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones, whether she is satisfied with our home care system.

“Minister, every single week my office receives multiple calls regarding the failures in our home care system. Elizabeth is a senior in my riding who ends up sleeping in her chair at least once a week, because Bayshore doesn’t send a PSW to help get her into bed” Gélinas stated.

“Homecare reliability is so bad, patients who want to, who should be and could be at home, are stuck in hospital, leading your government to pass a law overriding frail elderly patient rights to consent and push them in a LTC home far away from home. Can the Minister please tell me if she thinks that our homecare system is meeting the needs of Ontarians?’’

The Ford government’s Bill 7, More Beds, Better Care Act became law in September 2022; it allows hospitals to send alternate level of care patients to long term care homes not of their choosing up to 150 kilometers away.

“Minister, our home care system is broken, it fails thousands of people every single day. Since this government was elected 5 years ago, nothing has changed. There is a huge human resources crisis in home care because this government does not fund home care adequately. Solving the home care health resources crisis means providing permanent full-time, well-paid jobs, with benefits, sick days and a pension plan. Then many PSWs not working in health care will come back to work in home care.

When will this government admit that home care is an integral part of our health care system and provide directives and funding to support it as such.”

Average PSW wage in Ontario currently sits at approximately $18 according to multiple employment and staffing websites with negligible or no benefits.

Suspicious Healthcare Priorities
Priorités suspectes en matière de soins de santé

November 17, 2022

Government’s Health Care Priorities Are Suspect

This morning during question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked Premier Ford why his government continues to ignore the crisis is our province’s hospitals.

“We all know the Premier will use the long wait times, the overcrowding and the ER closures to justify bringing in US-style healthcare to Ontario. He will say we need to “innovate” just like Mike Harris did when he privatized home care. The private home care providers were going to do things better: faster, and cheaper, but today we all know that never happened.

Why is this government so determined to dismantle our publicly funded and publicly delivered healthcare system?’’ Gélinas asked.

The Ford government continues to ignore the severe shortage of health human resources in Ontario’s health care system. Yesterday, an NDP Motion focussed on health care worker recruitment and retention was roundly rejected by the government majority in the legislature.

Allow Nurse Practitioners to do more
Permettre aux infirmières practiciennes d’en faire plus

October 31, 2022

Allow Nurse Practitioners to Offer More Solutions

This morning during question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked Health Minister Sylvia Jones why the Ford government continues to ignore the solutions Nurse Practitioners (NP) have to offer.

“Minister, the Nurse Practitioners Association is at Queen’s Park today, they have a very simple ask; lift the cap on the number of Nurse Practitioner Led Clinics (NPLC). The 25 NPLC across the province are all success stories. Every one of them provide access to top quality interdisciplinary primary care to over a hundred thousand Ontarians who used to go to one of our overcrowded emergency departments for care.

Minister, will you lift the cap on the number of Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic so unattached patients in community across Ontario, including Coniston in my riding, can gain access to primary care.’’ Gélinas asked.

According to the Globe and Mail, nearly 1.8 million patients in the country’s most populous province did not have a regular primary-care provider as of March 2020 and another 1.7 million Ontarians had a family doctor who was nearing retirement age.

“Another step the Minister can take to help the over 1.3 million Ontarians who do not have a family physician and who need access to primary care, by simply adding more Nurse Practitioner positions to the existing clinics. It is a very cost effective and immediate step the government can take. These nurse practitioners will help patients, help the health care system, and save money. It is a win-win-win solution.

Every NPLC has a wait list. In Capreol where the NPLC is the only health care service available, there are thousands of people who need access to primary care and there are NPs available to fill these roles; but they have no funding to hire them. Their funding proposals sit unanswered.

Minister why are those affordable, effective, and immediate solutions being ignored?”

Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with advanced university education who provide a full range of health care services to individuals, families, and communities. Regulated by the College of Nurses of Ontario, NPs must meet rigorous requirements to maintain ongoing registration.

Don’t ignore Nurse Practitioners
Ne négliger pas les infirmières practiciennes

November 14, 2022

Why are we ignoring Nurse Practitioners?

France Gélinas MPP for Nickel Belt and NDP Health Critic rose in the legislature this morning to draw the attention of the Ford government to the important work that is done and can be done by Ontario’s Nurse Practitioners.

“I rise today to speak to the important work Nurse Practitioners do serving patients in every corner of this province and why we need this government to fund more NP positions. At a time when many family physicians are retiring, patients across Ontario lose access to primary care leaving them dependant on walk in clinics or emergency rooms. Meanwhile Aboriginal Health access centres, Community Health centres and Nurse practitioner led clinics all have NP they could hire but the government will not fund them. These Nurse Practitioners can assess, treat or advise patients with complex medical conditions who otherwise end up in our overcrowded emergency rooms.

Unfortunately, this government refuses to modernize their antiquated funding models so NP can be hired to provide their excellent services to more patients. For example, the executive director of a nurse practitioner clinic, usually a nurse practitioner themselves; is required to have 800 patients on their individual roster, while still being responsible for administrative duties required to run a medical facility. In fact, these funding models are so rigid that the government claims they are still working on the paperwork to provide nurse working in these clinics with the retention bonuses that was promised 9 months ago.

If this government really wants to improve access to health services to thousands of people in Ontario a small investment in Nurse practitioners’ positions will pay off in every sector of our health care system.”

During this morning’s meeting of the Social Policy Committee at the legislature it was noted Nurse Practitioner led clinics have not received a base budget increase in 12 years.

Stop Disrespecting Public Sector Workers
Respect pour les travailleurs et travailleuses du secteur public

November 2, 2022

Stop Disrespecting Public Sector Workers and Get Back to the Table!

NDP Health critic France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) questioned the Minister of Education on the Ford government’s pattern of disrespecting public sector fields, especially those dominated by women.

“We are joined today by members of OSSTF and OPSEU, including medical laboratory technologists, teachers, social workers, educational assistants, early childhood educators and many other essential workers. They are calling for immediate action to respect all those public sector workers. Premier, will you listen to those professionals and other unionized public sector workers; withdraw Bill 28 and go back to the bargaining table with CUPE?”

The Ford PC government tabled legislation Monday that would impose a contract on Ontario’s education support workers and ban their right to legally strike. If passed, the bill would invoke the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to eliminate the rights to collectively bargain and strike for the first time in Canada.

Gélinas continued “This government has established a pattern of disrespecting and devaluing public sector workers. We are seeing it in health care, and we are seeing it in education. They seem to have a particular disdain for sectors dominated by women workers. We have seen it with the devastating impact of this government’s low-wage policy – Bill 124.

Education workers and health care workers are exhausted, demoralized and leaving their jobs. Yet the government continues to deny what they and many other people want, this government to respect their Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They want them to go back, talk to CUPE, get an agreement that nobody likes—you won’t like it; CUPE won’t like it—but everybody can live with. Will you withdraw Bill 28 and go back to the negotiation table?”

Fund Hospices and Palliative Care
Financer les centres de soins palliatifs

October 31, 2022

Time for the Province to Properly Fund Hospices and Palliative Care

This morning during question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked the Ford government why Ontario Hospices continue to struggle to access proper government funding.

“Members of Hospice Palliative Care Ontario are at Queen’s Park today. Their message is really clear: Annualized operating funding increases are needed now to prevent the collapse of the lower cost, highly valued hospice sector. Does the Premier thing that palliative care patients should go grocery shopping, cook their own food, wash their own dishes? Does he think that they should change their own bed and do their own laundry? Does he think that they should clean their room, wash the floor, take their trash to the curb? Does he think that palliative care patients should pay for heat, hydro, telephone, cable, Internet? I don’t. Why is it that the Premier does not fund any of these basic services in Ontario hospices?’’ Gélinas asked.

Hospice and Palliative Care Ontario’s recent user survey found that more than half of family caregivers reported that hospice volunteer support helped avert a trip to the ER saving the system $10,000,000 in unnecessary ER visits.

“The government funds 50% of the operating cost of our hospices. The community funding model that the hospices depend on is broken. The words “hospice palliative care” are nowhere in the last budget that this government tabled. The reality is that the costs continue to escalate while community donation power is challenged by economic realities, including the pandemic. Hospices are not only a pressure valve for emergency room crises, but they’re an access point for grief, for bereavement, for mental health services. Members of Hospice Palliative Care are here to remind us that hospice palliative care means system savings and efficiencies. It means improved patient care and caregiver experience.

Nobody should spend their last day alive washing dishes. Can your government commit today to funding hospices to a minimum of 70% of their operating costs?”

In the last five years, 23,000 people in Ontario were discharged from hospital or bypassed hospital going to a hospice residence according to Hospice and Palliative Care Ontario.

Bill 7: Bill Seniors hundreds a day, send them hours away
Projet de loi 7 : Facturer les personnes âgées des centaines de dollars par jour pour les éloigner de leur famille

September 14, 2022

Ford government confirms cruel scheme to bill hundreds a day, send seniors hours away

NDP responds to disturbing new details of legislation forcing people into long-term care

On Wednesday the Doug Ford government confirmed Bill 7 will force people into long-term care homes they didn’t choose as far as 150 kilometres away, and require hospitals to charge families $400 a day if a senior doesn’t want to move there. NDP Health Care critic France Gélinas and NDP Long-Term Care critic Wayne Gates released the following statement in response:

“Now we know that Doug Ford’s government will require all hospitals to bill all families ready for long-term care a whopping $400 a day — or wave goodbye to their loved ones and watch helplessly as they are ordered to move hours away. Removing frail elderly people from their loved ones and essential caregivers is horrifying, and will cause seniors’ health and well-being to go downhill fast. Imagine having to drive two hours to kiss your wife goodnight. Imagine the guilt of knowing you can’t afford to pay $400 a day to keep your dad in hospital, and having to put him in a for-profit long-term care home with a devastating record and disgusting living conditions.

These seniors do not have doctors and nurses assigned to them when they’re in hospital. Forcing them to move will not ease our health care staffing crisis one bit. What we should be doing is addressing the staffing crisis at the heart of our health care crisis, not playing a cruel game of musical chairs that kicks seniors and people with disabilities out of hospital beds.”

Government Privatization Plans
Les plans de privatisation du gouvernement

September 8, 2022

Minister Jones is ashamed to talk about her privatization plans

This morning during question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked the Ford government why the Ministry of Health is exacerbating the health human resources crisis by encouraging private clinics to siphon staff from our public hospitals.

“People who waited hours in the emergency room in pain. People who had to leave the hospital without getting the care they needed. People who have waited in agony for urgent surgery. All this because of staff shortages, being made worse every day by this government’s actions.Why is this government willing to make the waiting worse by expanding private surgical clinics siphoning more of our staff away from public hospitals?’’

Over the summer more that 26 hospitals have temporarily closed their emergency departments due to staff shortages.

“Families in Ontario have watched as the crisis in health care has gotten worse and worse. Over the summer, at least 26 hospitals have been forced to close their emergency department to patients. And across the province, nurses and health care workers are leaving in droves. More than ever, we need a plan to strengthen publicly-delivered health care and support nurses and front line health care workers who provide it. Why is this government so determined to let this crisis go on and tell us that the only way out is to privatize more of our health care system?”

In August the Ford government announced they will increase surgical capacity by funding surgical procedures in private facilities; although they did not specify the type of surgeries that would be done in these clinics.

“Nurses and health care workers have been crystal clear: this government is making the health care crisis worse. Whether it is punishing seniors by forcing them away from their family into substandard for-profit long-term-care homes; whether it is funding more for-profit clinics, pulling money and staff away from the public system, the crisis is getting worse not better. No one in Ontario should be wondering whether the emergency department is going to be open when they need it” Gélinas concluded. “Will the government stop selling more of our health care system to private investors and bring in a staffing strategy that will improve publicly delivered health care”

Care at Home, Don’t Force Seniors into LTC
Soigner les personnes âgées à la maison, ne pas les obliger à entrer dans un foyer de soins de longue durée

September 7, 2022

Care for seniors at home, don’t force them into LTC homes

This morning during question period MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) asked the Ford government why they continue to ignore expert and public opinions, and force seniors out of hospital and into long term care homes without their consent.

“Over the last month, seniors, their families, physicians, nurses and health experts have all warned the government that Bill 7 will do nothing to stop emergency room closures. It will do nothing to hire or retrain more nurses or to end the crisis in our health care system. An opinion poll in today’s Globe and Mail confirms that a majority of Ontario families agree. Why is the government plowing ahead with this dangerous plan?’’

This morning, a new Nanos Research poll conducted for The Globe and Mail suggests most Ontarians are uncomfortable with Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s law that will move, elderly patients who no longer need acute care, in nursing homes, without their consent.

The Ford government’s Bill 7 passed third reading last week, the bill “authorizes certain actions to be carried out without the consent of these patients, having a placement co-ordinator select a home and authorize their admission to the home.” Numerous organizations have spoken out, asking the government to withdraw this legislation which may override patient rights.

“Patients are already feeling the pressure from hospitals. Vulnerable people are being told their best option is to move into an expensive retirement home or a long-term care home they don’t want to go to. The government should be supporting people in their own home. That’s what they want. Why is the government pushing frail elderly people into long-term care homes against their will and without their consent?” Gélinas continued “Our home care system fails more people than it helps every single day, Speaker. The crisis in the health care system will not be solved by pushing our elderly away from their families into for-profit, long-term care homes that nobody wants to live in.

The health care system needs a permanent solution to recruit and retain valued health care workers, like permanent paid sick days, like repealing Bill 124, like giving nurses a chance to negotiate a fair wage after two and a half years of hell. Will the government stop pushing risky plans that are opposed by the majority of Ontarians and commit to solutions that actually address the crisis in our health care system?

Re-introduction of Bill to Respect Auditor General’s Authority
Réintroduction d’un projet de loi visant à respecter l’autorité de le vérificateur général

September 7, 2022

MPPs Gélinas and West re-introduce bill to respect Auditor General’s authority

NDP MPPs France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) and Jamie West (Sudbury) are re-introducing a bill on Wednesday to eliminate any future challenges to the role or powers of Ontario’s Auditor General.
The bill is being re-introduced as the Auditor’s powers of investigation can still be challenged by public organizations who “lawyer up”.

The people of Sudbury, and Ontario still wait for the Auditor’s final report on Laurentian University which has been greatly delayed by unnecessary legal challenges; the interim report was issue in April 2022.

“For over a year, the Auditor General was trying to get answers about the root causes of Laurentian University’s bankruptcy” said Gélinas. “What should have been a clear and simple audit of a publicly funded organization, overseen by the provincial government, ended up with many legal challenges to the Auditor’s authority. The Auditor has also filed for an appeal which will cost the people of Ontario a lot of money; all these expenses could be avoided by passing our bill. The current situation is disrespectful to the people of Ontario and has added large legal fees to an already bankrupt institution. The Auditor General has asked for these legislative changes to eliminate any ambiguity about her powers and responsibilities in the future.”

The Auditor General Amendment Act, 2022 will make it even clearer that the Auditor General has the right to request and see any documents she needs to do her work, said MPPs West and Gélinas.

“The people of Sudbury want Laurentian to be successful. They want to help rebuild. However, the University’s lack of transparency delayed this from happening. That made people incredibly frustrated and angry,” said West. “Although the auditor has already released an interim report on the subject of Laurentian University, this bill will ensure the Auditor General can work unimpeded in the future.”

“I was lucky enough to participate in the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees (CCPAC) in Ottawa last week. There, I had the opportunity to speak with Auditors and members of public account’s committees from legislatures across the country. After these discussions I am more convinced then ever that we need these legislative changes here in Ontario” stated Gélinas. “Laurentian’s actions hurt the public’s trust in an institution that my community is proud of, we must ensure this never happens again.”