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Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario’s answer to the deficit: 35 years of revenue cuts

In a recent long-term report on the economy, the Ontario government recognized that own-source Ontario government revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) has declined over the last fifteen years.  The decline is equal to 2 percentage points of the province’s GDP. That is more than $14 billion.  With that revenue, the deficit would be gone and we would have money to spare.But the government also forecasts that own-source revenue  as a percentage of GDP will continue to decline over the next twenty years as well.   

The plan is to cut Ontario government revenue (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario’s answer to the deficit: 35 years of revenue cuts

Defending Public Healthcare: Deficit? Public spending ain’t the cause. Revenue, however…

With the election over, pressure to cut public programs has become quite intense. In almost all of the corporate owned media someone is barking on about it. Another option — increasing revenue from the wealthy is not mentioned.  However, data clearly indicates that Ontario does not have an overspending problem compared to the other provinces. But the data also indicates Ontario has very low revenue   Ontario has the lowest public spending of all the provinces on a per capita basis (see the chart from the 2014 Ontario Budget below).  So there is little reason to suspect that we have (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Deficit? Public spending ain’t the cause. Revenue, however…

Defending Public Healthcare: Rest of Canada spends 23% more on hospitals than Ontario

Provincial government hospital expenditure per person in Ontario compared to the rest of Canada based on CIHI data.

A large gap has grown between what the Ontario provincial government spends on hospitals and what other Canadian provinces spend. Since 2004/5 the gap has grown from a mere $9.43 per person to $316.50 per person in 2012/13. Nine years ago, the difference was 1%. Now, the other provinces and territories (as a whole) spend  23% more per person on hospitals than Ontario does.   That is an astonishing difference. Or at least the size of (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Rest of Canada spends 23% more on hospitals than Ontario

Eh Types: Why Do We Vote?

In a democracy there are almost as many reasons to vote as their are voters. Some vote out a sense of civic obligation, others vote so they can still feel entitled to complain about the results. For some one issue not only dictates why they vote but how they vote. Others still will vote out […]

somecanuckchick dot com: Dear Ontario: Section 53 is not the answer!

If you go to your polling station on June 12th and decline your ballot, you have not voted for anyone, or anything.

In fact, you have forfeited your right to vote and your vote has been suppressed.

REMEMBER: Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging, or preventing people from exercising the right to vote.

The Decline Your Vote web site was launched by a Conservative and it promotes Section 53 of the Ontario Elections Act.

Section 53 of the Ontario Elections Act states:

An elector who has received a ballot and returns (Read more…)

Defending Public Healthcare: PCs health care policy: cuts, privatization, mergers, and cuts

The PCs have developed two papers on health care policy, one dated September 2012 and another (which “builds on that foundation”) dated February 2013.  Here are some key excerpts, with some commentary, starting with the 2012 paper, “Patient CentredHealth Care”. Terminate the LHINs and CCACs and turn their powers over to 30-40 “hospital hubs”:  “Build off of the existing high performing health infrastructure in 30 to 40 Ontario hospitals to create health hubs. Hubs will organize, plan and commission services for the patients in their respective regions.”  “The health hub is a simple concept. Hubs (Read more…)

Defending Public Healthcare: The lowdown on the PC plan for the public sector

Below are excerpts from the Progressive Conservative policy paper, “A New Deal for the Public Sector”.  It contains some very radical ideas that go far beyond even what former PC premier Mike Harris implemented.   Cut public spending: “To balance the budget, government spending must be cut. Just slowing the rate at which spending increases will leave a balanced  budget as a distant hope, not a real goal. Ontario does not have the luxury of time to address the problem.” Comment: Even the Mike Harris PC government increased public sector spending in its first term (by their (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: The lowdown on the PC plan for the public sector

Illuminated By Street Lamps: Supervised Injection In Toronto: Why The Discussion Has Screeched To A Halt

By Joe Fantauzzi @jjfantauzzi

Drug use is a multifaceted issue in urban life. Addiction can take an enormous toll on individuals and can leave the municipalities in which those people live struggling to adequately service their needs as well as the needs of the community. Supervised injection facilities, in which users consume drugs in a safe, clean space aided by sterile equipment and attendant medical professionals, have emerged as a new field of Canadian urban policy. I contend that despite medical evidence and the recommendations of medical professionals across Canada who advocate supervised injection as a harm-reducing approach to drug (Read more…)

Illuminated By Street Lamps: Temporary Foreign Workers: What Canada Must Do To Protect A Vulnerable Labour Class

By Joe Fantauzzi @jjfantauzziKey Findings and Recommendations:- Between 2003 and 2012, the number of temporary foreign workers admitted to Canada jumped from 102,932 to 213,573 — a difference of 107.5%.- Inquests are mandatory in Ontario when an on-the-job accident kills a worker employed at “a construction project, mining plant or mine, including a pit or quarry”[19] — but not in the course of agricultural work.- Effective collective bargaining must be extended to migrant workers by Parliament.- Public health benefits must be extended to workers injured in the course of their work even after (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Illuminated By Street Lamps: Temporary Foreign Workers: What Canada Must Do To Protect A Vulnerable Labour Class

Defending Public Healthcare: How Ontario public sector health care funding lags behind

The Ontario public sector spends less than almost all other provinces on health care.  And it’s falling further behind.  Over the most recent four years per capita spending increased 9.7% across Canada, but only 5.2% in Ontario.  With this, the Ontario public sector spends less per person than any other province except Quebec. Ontario public sector spending equaled $3,952 per person in 2013, but the all-Canada average was 6.3% (or $248) higher, at $4,200 per person, according to a new report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Heading for the bottom: Quebec, (Read more…)

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Illuminated By Street Lamps: Ontario: A leading jurisdiction for intense, coercive neoliberalism

By Joe Fantauzzi@jjfantauzzi Global capitalism has liberalized incrementally since the end of the Second World War. As the Keynesian welfare state fell out of favour in the late 1970s amid a stagnating economy and rising government spending, a new business-friendly approach dubbed neoliberalism (literally, “new liberalism”), emerged and ushered in an epoch of devotion to market principles as the solution to what ails Ontario both economically and socially. The implementation of the Canada-US Trade Agreement in 1987[1], North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994[2]and the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995[3] were (Read more…)

Defending Public Healthcare: Provincial public sector wage increases less than private sector for fourth year

For the fourth consecutive year in a row, wage settlements in the broader provincial public sector (i.e. public sector workers, like hospital employees, who do not work for federal or municipal governments) fell below the wage settlements in the private sector.  In 2013, provincial public sector wage settlements averaged about 0.3% annually compared to a private sector settlement average of 2.3% according to Ministry of Labour data.  That is a whopping 2 percent gap.  In 2010 the gap was small, as provincial public sector settlements came in at just under 2% and private sector (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Provincial public sector wage increases less than private sector for fourth year

Illuminated By Street Lamps: The Toronto G20 Summit: A State of Exception

By Joe Fantauzzi@jjfantauzziBetween June 26 and 27, 2010, thousands of demonstrators[1] descended on Toronto, Ontario to protest while the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies[2] met behind a protective fence built of steel and secretive legislative authority. When the tear gas cleared and the G20 Summit ended, 1,105 people had been detained. It has been described as “the largest peacetime mass arrest in Canadian history.”[3] Of those arrested, 779 — 80% — were released without any charges (as of June 2012).[4] Following Giorgio Agamben, I contend that the Province of Ontario employed (Read more…)

Illuminated By Street Lamps: Locating Canada’s State Multiculturalism As A Racist Doctrine

By Joe Fantauzzi@jjfantauzziCanada is a multicultural nation. More than four decades of policy, legislation and celebration have engraved this country’s pluralism into its national character. The ethnic diversity of this country is presented globally as a fundamental strength of the Canadian nation. But massive structural inequalities which have not been erased with state multiculturalism policies remain ─ and have, in some cases, been exacerbated. I contend that nationalism in Canada is highly predicated on race and a structural racism that is intrinsically linked to Canada’s brand of state-sponsored multiculturalism. Following Himani Bannerji, I argue this race-focused nationalism works (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Disappointment with the Ontario Liberal Party lack of social media communication

The OLP has a convention next week, if you weren’t aware. It’s their annual general meeting – the one that was originally going to be held in London, but got moved to Toronto due to speculated Spring Election concerns.

Several bloggers (myself included) of the Liberal persuasion (Ontario or Federal) have been inquiring for awhile since last year before Christmas to some of our contacts within the OLP hierarchy about the possibility of being present at this to live-blog or live-tweet it or social media it in general.. you get the idea – as we did for the OLP’s leadership (Read more…)

Illuminated By Street Lamps: No Federal Childcare Program: An Exercise In Strengthening Hegemony

            Canada, a nation among the wealthiest in the world, cannot meet its daycare needs. The problem has grown to crisis proportions in the country’s largest cities. In Toronto there are only enough daycare spaces for about one in five of the city’s children.[1] In downtown Vancouver, 2,000 children are on a childcare waiting list.[2] There is no federal universal childcare scheme in Canada. Some provinces and municipalities offer subsidized childcare but these programs are at constant risk of having funding withdrawn. As well, the lack of federal standardization results in wide disparities of (Read more…)

Defending Public Healthcare: Harper health care cuts: $8.2 billion less for Ontario

The Ontario Fall Economic Outlook indicates that 59% of the Ontario  health care funding increase this year comes from the annual increase in funding from the federal government via the Canada Health Transfer (CHT).  The federal transfer increase accounts for $752 million out of a total provincial health care increase of $1.272 billion. (Another $181 million comes from the increase in the Employer Health Tax revenue, with not much coming from other Ontario based revenue sources, like income or corporate tax.)  The share of new funding paid for by new federal CHT funding is up from (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Harper health care cuts: $8.2 billion less for Ontario

Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario has highest private health care spending in Canada

Ontario has the highest private sector health care expenditure in the country, according to data in a recent report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Total public sector expenditure in Ontario in 2013 is forecasted at only 67.7% of total health care expenditure, significantly below the Canada-wide average of  70.1%.    Public sector expenditures would need to increase 6.3% in Ontario just to meet the Canadian average — $248 per person.  So it is perhaps not so surprising that private health expenditures are 5.3% higher in Ontario than Canada as a whole ($1,883 (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario has highest private health care spending in Canada

Defending Public Healthcare: Physician numbers up 18% in four years

There has been a sharp increase in the number of physicians in Ontario and an even sharper increase in payments to physicians. Between 2008 and 2012 the number of physicians in Ontario has increased 18.5%.  This growth is offset by population growth only very modestly: the number of physicians per 100,000 population has increased 13.5% over the same period.

Ontario Supply 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012  Increase Total Number of Physicians 23,043 24,515 25,044 26,163 27,300 18.5% Family Medicine 11,106 11,817 12,170 12,815 13,513 21.7% Specialists 11,937 12,698 12,874 13,348 13,787 15.5% Physicians per 100,000 (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Physician numbers up 18% in four years

Illuminated By Street Lamps: Liberty: Revealing J.S. Mill As A Visionary And J.J Rousseau As A Totalitarian

By Joe Fantauzzi @jjfantauzzi

At the core of many modern democracies is the concept of freedom. Variations of the word “free” appear 27 times in the text of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[1] “Liberty” appears in the preamble of the Constitution of the United States.[2] But the nature of freedom, liberty or whatever else a society chooses to call the ability to pursue those things that makes us better or happier as a species, is amorphous. Here, it is discussed in two schools: that of negative freedom, more expressly defined as liberty from interference, and that of (Read more…)

Defending Public Healthcare: Physiotherapy: One more privatization scandal?

Lurking only slightly below the surface in the recent fight over changes to funding for physiotherapy is yet another problem with health care privatization.

The government is stopping the ability of 94 physiotherapy clinics to directly bill OHIP. Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews says that, over the years, licences to provide these services have been bought up by large corporations. Currently, two-thirds of the billing goes to four companies that are, she says, “behind the protests” against her reforms.

Moreover, she charges that the “existing 94 clinics have had an unlimited ability to bill the government and have become (Read more…)

Defending Public Healthcare: With 34,000 jobs destroyed, Ontario focuses on Jobs and Growth

With the release of the 2013-14 first quarter finances report, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa has announced the start of his own consultations on the economy.

The focus (allegedly) is on “jobs and growth” .

The formal pre-budget consultations with a committee of the legislature usually start in the late fall or winter. So Sousa’s consultations (which have already begun) are getting the jump. If words mean much, the emphasis is quite different than under Dwight Duncan.

Sousa’s release headlines “The Path to Jobs and Growth”.

Duncan’s release of last year’s first quarter finances sounded more like his imitation of the (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: With 34,000 jobs destroyed, Ontario focuses on Jobs and Growth

Illuminated By Street Lamps: In Brampton, Few Recorded Development Votes After Developers Contribute To Political War Chests

By Joe Fantauzzi@jjfantauzzi Key Findings: 

– The development industry is clearly engaged in the political process at Brampton City Hall.

– 233 development companies and development-affiliated individuals were publicly disclosed to have contributed money to Brampton candidates in the 2010 municipal election.

– Of those 233 developer donors, 48 were discovered to have proposals in various stages in front of Brampton City Hall between December 12, 2010 and May 22, 2013, according to city council minutes.

– The interests of 20.6 per cent ─ or about one in five ─ of the companies and individuals (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Illuminated By Street Lamps: In Brampton, Few Recorded Development Votes After Developers Contribute To Political War Chests

Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario: 6.1 fewer hours of care per hospital patient

The real costs for the average hospital acute care patient are declining.  As noted yesterday this is true for both Ontario and Canada, based on data just released from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.    But the CIHI data also revealed other interesting trends, likely related.   Administrative Costs Decline: Administrative costs continue their long decline in Ontario hospitals, falling again from 6.21% of total expenses in 2009-10 to 6.15% in 2010-11 and then down to 5.91% in 2011-12.   With a total hospital spend in the range of $21 billion in Ontario, this (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario: 6.1 fewer hours of care per hospital patient

Defending Public Healthcare: Costs of hospital treatment falling

Ontario has the lowest hospital cost per weighted case of all the provinces.  And the cost difference between Ontario and the rest of the country is growing.

Hospital Cost Per Weighted Case ($)

2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 Newfoundland 6,001 6,283 6,332 PEI DQ DQ 5,257 Nova Scotia 4,998 5,403 5,384 New Brunswick 5,104 5,380 5,390 Quebec 4,455 4,550 4,728 Ontario 5,164 5,174 5,184 Manitoba 5,403 5,438 5,396 Saskatchewan 5,722 5,883 6,174 Alberta 6,139 6,399 6,631 BC 5,456 5,571 5,232 North West Territories N/R N/R N/R Yukon DQ 7,709 7,394 Weighted Average 5,172 5,281 5,335

Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Costs of hospital treatment falling