COPE ONTARIO HEALTH CARE REPORT (July 2022)
COPE Ontario is instituting a regular health care report for COPE members four (4) times a year. The health care report will keep COPE members updated on the changes occurring in health care and the impact of changes on COPE health care workers.
The next issues of the COPE Health Care Report for 2022 will be in October and December. In 2023 the health care report will be quarterly.
New Health Minister:
The Ministry of Health of Ontario is the ministry responsible for the administrating the healthcare system in Ontario. On June 20, 2019, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care were split into two (2) separate ministries, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
Premier Doug Ford unveiled his new cabinet on Friday, June 24, 2022. The new Minister of Health is Sylvia Jones, who will also be the Deputy Premier of Ontario.
She takes over from the former Minister of Health Christine Elliot who did not seek re-election after serving in the role for more than two (2) years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sylvia Jones is the member representing Dufferin-Caledon and has held this seat since she was first elected following the 2007 general election.
She was appointed to the provincial cabinet after the Conservative Party formed government in 2018, and has been the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Solicitor General of Ontario.
She attended Fanshawe College, where she received a diploma in radio broadcasting. She also worked as an executive assistant to former Progressive Conservative (PC) leader John Tory. The Ministry of Health consumes almost half (75 billion) of provincial program spending.
Ministry of Long-Term Care:
The Ministry of Long-Term Care’s role in health care is to ensure that Ontarians have access to quality long-term care in a safe, home-like environment.
Minister of Long-Term Care:
Paul Calandra will remain as the Minister of Long-Term Care. He has served as a Minister in the Ontario cabinet since 2019. He has been the government house leader for the Progressive Conservatives since 2019, Minister of Legislative Affairs and Minister of Long-Tern Care since 2022. He represents Markham-Stouffville in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Canada Health Act:
The Canada Health Act is a statute of the Parliament of Canada, adopted in 1984, which establishes the framework for federal financial contributions to the provincial and territorial health insurance programs, commonly known as “medicare.” The Canada Health Act is federal legislation that provides the foundation for the Canadian health care system. The Act is administered by Health Canada, the federal department with primary responsibility for ensuring and improving the health of Canadians. The Act also establishes certain principles and sets out the criteria and conditions that each health insurance plan, such as OHIP, must meet in order to receive funding. These requirements are public administration, universality, comprehensiveness, and accessibility. Extra billing is also banned by the Act. In order to qualify for federal funding, provinces and territories must provide coverage for all “insured health services” which includes hospital services, physician services, and surgical-dental services provided to insured persons, if they are not covered by any other program. “insured persons” is defined as anyone who is a resident of a province or territory and lawfully entitled to be or remain in Canada.
The provinces and territories administer and deliver most of Canada’s health care services, with all provincial and territorial health insurance plans expected to meet the national principles set out under the Canada Health Act. Each provincial and territorial health insurance plan covers medically necessary hospital and doctor’s services that are provided on a pre-paid basis, without direct charges at the point of service.
The role of the Ontario government in health care includes:
- Administration of health insurance plans;
- Planning and funding of care in hospitals and other health facilities; such as services provided by doctors and other health care professionals;
- Planning and implementation of health promotion and public health initiatives; and
- Negotiation of fee schedules with health professionals.
Section 15 of the Canada Health Act allows the federal government to withhold all or part of the transfer payment to a provinces and territories for non-compliance with the Act.
Hospital Sector Update:
Several COPE collective agreements have been resolved for the next period of time up to and including March of 2024, e.g., Smooth Rock Falls Hospital and the Smooth Rock Falls Detoxification Centre,
Dryden Regional Health Sciences Centre March 31, 2023
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is proceeding to interest arbitration.
Sensenbrenner Hospital and London Health Sciences Centre are currently in negotiations.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Service Workers International Union (SEIU) have been bargaining with centrally with Hospital Employers. Negotiations have reached an impasse and an arbitration date has been set for either late June or early July. The arbitration award when issued will affect approximately 70, 000 health care workers in the hospital sector primarily service and clerical worker and Registered Practical Nurses.
The Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPEU) have been bargaining in the hospital sector centrally for paramedical workers and received an interest arbitration award on July 7, 2022. Their current collective agreement expired on March 22, 2022. The new collective agreement is for the period April 1, 2022, until March 31, 2025. This award affects approximately 12, 536 employees in 59 different hospitals
The wage increases awarded were 1% in each year of the collective agreement, as per Bill 124, effective April 1, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Slight increases were also awarded for evening and weekend premiums in each year of the agreement. The Board of Arbitration also awarded language dealing with the elimination of a bargaining unit position.