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  • Writer's pictureLes Whittington

A dire nursing shortage, private-sector windfall profits all part of Ford’s disastrous approach to Ontario health care

Bill 124 contributed to a mass exodus of front-line nurses, creating of a unique opportunity for private-nurse-hiring agencies to realize a huge windfall of public cash.


Ontario Premier Doug Ford finally scrapped Bill 124 last week, but not before it contributed to the deterioration of some of the health-care services Ontarians count on, writes Les Whittington. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

OPINION | BY LES WHITTINGTON | February 28, 2024


OTTAWA - The wait times between radio ads claiming Premier Doug Ford is fixing Ontario's crumbling health-care system have been substantially reduced.


This relentless public relations campaign—likely costing Ontario taxpayers millions of dollars—is in sharp contrast to the reality faced by anyone who needs urgent care in the province’s hospitals after six years of the Ford regime.


The fact is that there is a lot of money to be made by business in health care, and Ford, despite not mentioning his intentions during the 2022 election, is working hard to open up the system to profit-making. One was reminded of this last week when Ford finally scrapped Bill 124, the 2019 wage-suppression legislation which had capped salary increases for nurses at one per cent a year. It was rescinded after a second court ruled again—on appeal from the provincial government—that it was unconstitutional.


Ford said he brought in Bill 124 because the province was in financial trouble. Whatever the motivation, the legislation contributed to a mass exodus of front-line nurses. Although largely unnoticed at the time, the result was the creation of a unique opportunity for private-nurse-hiring agencies to realize a huge windfall of public cash.



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