Statement from the Ontario Nurses’ Association Regarding the Your Health Act

February 22, 2023

TORONTO, ON., February 23, 2023 – The introduction of the creatively named Your Health Act allows an unlimited number of new surgical clinics to perform publicly funded surgical procedures, which the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) believes is one more example of the Ford government’s ideological determination to dismantle publicly delivered health care.

ONA agrees with a number of other health-care experts who note that our public hospitals are underutilizing their surgical suites, due to underfunding from this government, a shortage of health-care workers including nurses and health-care professionals, and notes this legislation is vague, omitting important details and leaving those to be included in regulations. Specifically, the bill provides no assurances that the private clinics will be regulated and safe for patients, that they will not upsell patients on unnecessary services, not that the clinics will not poach nursing staff from our public hospitals as there are no specified prohibitions.

In addition, ONA notes that there is no mechanism to ensure disclosure or transparency for private clinics, unlike our public hospitals. This is similar to what happened with for-profit home-care agencies.

Ontarians cannot trust this government to properly regulate private clinics. The Ford government took no action to address the horrific record of for-profit nursing homes during the pandemic. It also failed to properly staff nursing homes to ensure resident safety.

ONA calls for respect for the taxpayers of Ontario and for Ontarians to speak up about the lack of any detail in this legislation that ensures patients will receive quality care. There is a mountain of evidence that this kind of health care leads to worse patient outcomes. It will also result in Ontario’s nursing shortage in our public system worsening.

This government cannot be trusted to do what’s in the best interests of patients or health-care providers. We urge Ontarians to pay attention to what this government is doing to its highly valued health-care system and use their voices to fight for it before it is too late.