As usual, I was quite disappointed in Mr. Creasy’s lament in the NGT Feb 2/23. He has lamented the Conservative level of support for public health care and the outsourcing of certain procedures. Canada has just come through a pandemic that has severely stressed the system, operationally and economically. This is common to almost every public health care system in the western world (Britain, Germany, Netherlands, France etc.). In addition, the western industrialized world is in the midst of the largest labor shortage since WW2. The boomers (post war babies) have been the largest worker contingent in history and have reached the retirement age, many heading for the exits during COVID due to the stresses of coping at work, as well as age. This worker shortage was inevitable. And the public health system was not spared. Has Mr. Creasy noticed that we have experienced inflation since February 2022? He demands that the government increase spending on health care and at the same time increase wages. At this point we have not faced, as yet, rounds of strikes and protests as in most European nations. But it may soon come. Mr. Creasy asserts that in BC the private health clinics are “poaching” staff from the public health system. I would doubt his assertion! Last week I was at a local lab for tests and that lab had been closed for 3 days of the week. Why? Because of insufficient workers, so they share opening hours with the Winchester clinic. And where are the workers? As soon as they are trained they go to the public health system as the wages are better by $10/hr. with benefits and pension and union. I also know of hospital RN’s that have joined private clinics. Why? They wished to work closer to home, not pay parking, face traffic daily and not work shifts and weekends, as hospitals require. I have a daughter that worked in a private clinic as support staff. She soon moved to the Ottawa hospital for increased wages and benefits. So Mr. Creasy, people do move about for their own reasons. I suppose Mr. Creasy begrudges individual freedom to make choices for themselves, everything being caused by ideologues like Doug Ford!!!
As for higher costs in BC due to the grounds mentioned, would you not be glad you could get a cataract surgery in a private clinic in Ontario, that Mr. Ford will pay for, and get on with life, or would Mr. Creasy prefer that people lose their job because they cannot see well enough to drive to work? Incidentally, the suggested increase in health care funding of $591/person in Ontario with a population of 14.95 million (2022) would come to 8.835 billion, not 7 billion. Also, Mr. Mayer pointed out that, contrary to Mr. Creasy’s claim, New Brunswick pays the least for its health care system, but no numbers. New Brunswick health care budget for 2022-2023 is 3.2 billion for a population of 812,061 or $3,941 per capita. Ontario 2022 health care budget is 75.2 billion for a population of 14.95 million or $5,030 per capita. Alberta 2022 health care budget is 15.1 billion for a population of 4.6 million (2022) for a per capita amount of $3260. And no one mentions that BC, Alberta and Ontario are the only provinces that pay more into Confederation than they receive. Namely, Ontario (2019) paid $2,000 per capita more out than they received, more than enough to fund our health system. It is yet worse than that. Ontario has 7.185 million wage, salary and commission workers, approximately half of the total population. So Ontarians pay over $4,000 per worker into Confederation, (28.740 billion) than Ontario receives from the Feds, perhaps to support other “have not” provincial health care systems. Perhaps Ontario is not as wealthy as you think! And how must budgets be strained when Ontario saw a population increase of 300,000 and New Brunswick 25,000 in 2022 (both government estimates).
Willem Van Dam
Mr. Van Dam must have missed the OAG reports on spending, under-spending, and missing funds. He also appears to have a misconception that budget = spending.