Flaherty betrayed Ontario, broke promise on health transfers: health minister

by Maria Babbage, The Canadian Press

TORONTO – The federal Conservatives have betrayed Canada’s most populous province by breaking their promise over health-care funding, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews charged Tuesday.

The Harper Tories promised all provinces a six per cent increase in health transfers, but they’re only giving Ontario 3.4 per cent in 2014-15, she said.

That means Ontario is out $300 million, while Alberta is getting about $1 billion more — a 38 per cent increase, Matthews said.

“I think it’s outrageous,” she said during a visit to a Toronto eye surgery clinic.

“I think it’s bad policy. We count on that money. We had counted on that money to continue to improve access to care in this province.”

She said it’s a devastating blow to Ontario, which is grappling with rising health-care costs as its population ages.

The $300 million that Ottawa is shortchanging Ontario is more than the province’s increase in home care and other services for seniors this year, she said.

“It’s less money to reduce wait times, it’s less money to hire nurses, it’s less time to provide Ontario families and particularly Ontario seniors with the care that they need,” Matthew said.

The governing Liberals have made an effort to cut costs, but it appears the Harper Tories are balancing their budget on the backs of Ontario patients, she said.

Ontario, which is facing a nearly $12-billion deficit, is the only province that will see fewer federal dollars next year, with total transfer payments shrinking by $641 million to $19.1 billion.

A spokesman for Flaherty said Monday that the sums went down because Ontario’s economy did better.

The province allocates about $49 billion a year on health care, the highest area of spending in its $127.6-billion budget.

Matthews said costs have risen by six to seven per cent annually in recent years, but the government has managed to hold it at 2.1 per cent this year.




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Flaherty betrayed Ontario, broke promise on health transfers: health minister

  1. ‘Flaherty betrayed Ontario’……it won’t be the first time.

  2. Nice move Deb; blame the feds when you can’t balance your own books. This is similar strategy to the PQ in Quebec………at least you’re in good company!

    • Did you read the last sentence? “Ottawa is cutting $641 million in transfer payments to Ontario — the only province that will see fewer federal dollars in 2014-15.”

      Any thoughts on that, or is everything fair game until Ontario is back to a balanced budget?

  3. I wonder how this plays into the main thesis of Mr. Wells, The Longer I’m Prime Minister, which puts a lot of weight on transfers to provinces.

  4. This is what happens when you build an equalization component into transfer payments. If a province’s economy does better than expected, it ends up getting cut according to a predetermined forumula, regardless of whatever planned increases are made to the base component. Fortunately, the equalization component will be completely removed from health transfers starting in 2016. We already have equalization as a separate transfer program, We don’t need an equalization component in the health transfer as well.

  5. You can’t blame the feds. If The Ontario government thinks they have enough money to blow $1 billion plus on buying a couple of election seats and $1.5 billion every year to buy off the teacher’s unions and parents by providing high paid day care free of charge then they obviously don’t need transfer dollars….

  6. How much of those health care dollars is spent on administration Deb? As usual, its the front line workers that do the caring and looking after seniors in their homes that are paying the price. Between the LHINS, CCAC’s in every region of Ontario and your for profit agencies, theres little left for those of us out there every day (some of us are) delivering your Home Care here in Ontario. We have not had a raise in 5yrs, our gas remittance is pathetic, it does not keep anywhere near the pace of maintenance and gas for our vehicles that we need to do our JOB. We are all overworked and underpaid. Currently Red Cross workers are on strike all over this province and thousands of our seniors are going without help. How about speaking up on behalf of those that deliver your promises? Its an essential service that is much needed if you want to keep seniors and disabled people in their homes and not in the hospital or nursing homes. You guys need to come up with a better plan to stop wasting taxpayers money, although in our case, they’re getting a great deal, aren’t they Deb? See you on the picket line.

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