Loading articles...

NDP says leaked documents show Ford government will privatize Ornge, other health care services

Last Updated Feb 4, 2019 at 6:04 pm EST

The NDP has released a second set of leaked documents that it claims shows the Ford government is planning to privatize aspects of health care in Ontario, including inspections, laboratories, licencing, devices, and Ornge.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Monday the documents reveal that the Ford cabinet has already approved the health bill, but Health Minister Christine Elliott vehemently denied that, saying the documents are preliminary drafts and that there are no plans to privatize the aforementioned services.

“We will not be privatizing any of the services referenced today by Andrea Horwath,” Elliott said.

“Andrea Horwath and the NDP continue to fear monger and play politics with Ontario’s health care system,” she added. “It is ordinary course of business to develop draft options.”

When pressed by reporters to explain why the documents appear to show approval by cabinet, Elliott admitted that “there are aspects of this that we are considering,” but she wouldn’t elaborate or provide details.

However, in a statement released later on Monday, a spokeswoman for Elliot said most of the material included in the leaked documents was not under consideration by cabinet.

“Unfortunately, due to the importance of cabinet confidentiality, we are unable to confirm what has gone through the cabinet process. However, we can confirm that much of the material released by the NDP has never even crossed the Minister’s desk – let alone made it to the cabinet table,” said press secretary Hayley Chazan

The statement also called Horwath’s press conference “disastrous,” and reiterated that “a number of the sections Andrea Horwath specifically highlighted … are not under consideration by the Minister of Health and are not proceeding under our government’s watch – including the outsourcing of inspections, laboratories, licencing, devices, and Ornge.”

 

Earlier, Horwath said the documents reveal a plan to create a health “super agency” and include references to cabinet approving the plan and appointing board members.

The NDP would not say how the documents were obtained but shortly after they were released the PC’s said a staffer with the Ontario Public Service had been fired for leaking the documents and that the Ontario Provincial Police have been notified.

The NDP also said the documents show that a new model of “integrated care delivery” is being created, called MyCare groups, and the NDP say those groups would be given power to contract out front-line health care to private, for-profit entities.

Elliott has said her transformation of the health-care system isn’t final yet, but will not include two-tier care — assurances she made after the NDP released a leaked draft version of the legislation last week.