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LETTER: Bill 175 is ill-thought-out, devoid of public consultation

With a majority government, Bill 175 – 'Connecting People to Home and Community Care' could soon become law in Ontario and one GuelphToday reader is dismayed by that, comparing it to a fox looking after chickens
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GuelphToday received the following letter to the editor from reader Lin Grist:

The provincial government will send a new act Bill 175 – Connecting People to Home and Community Care for third reading and with a majority, the bill will pass.

Our provincial government has chosen to rush through this bill in the midst of the global pandemic – it will directly affect the lives of 750,000 Ontario residents currently using home care programs; plus their care-givers and their families, affecting some 2 1/4 million Ontarians.

To be blunt it is an ill-thought-out piece of legislation that has had absolutely NO public consultation. There is nothing in the bill about enhancing the programs and services to be provided using the public purse to pay for them. Here is what it does do:

  • Gives no right to community care for those in need
  • Provides no provision for improved access to care, quality of care, and by taking away the patient bill of rights, has left those receiving care no place to complain about inadequate care
  • Gives provision for expansion of co-pay, but no information about who will pay, how much and under what circumstances – that is left to cabinet fiat
  • Dismantles all remaining public governance and control of home care and proposes to hand it off to provider companies – including for-profits who have no public governance, accountability or oversight. Governance regionally and locally will be set by providers – so providing the services and setting the rules, being paid by the public purse – think fox looking after the chickens. The bill fragments care to many providers who would contract, sub-contract and run home care in different ways in different regions with few public protections. It does not “integrate” home and community care.

There are numerous provisions that would expand privatization not only of home care but also potentially of parts of hospital and long-term care.

I appreciate that the pandemic is changing how we do things in the public arena, however, this is not an opportunity for our provincial government to abandon public consultation on a piece of legislation that affects some 2.25 million Ontarians.

I would have thought that this provincial government would want to behave in a way to have our continued support and trust as we move through this difficult time. Let the Premier and Minister of Health slow down and talk to the people of Ontario before making such sweeping changes.