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  • Writer's picture Randall Denley

Hiding from Ontario's nursing shortage won't save Doug Ford from its consequences

Instead of ducking and dodging, the Ford government needs to lay out a plan, the type with numbers

Published May 16, 2024

Nurses working at the Humber River Hospital in Toronto. PHOTO BY CARLOS OSORIO /REUTERS

Restoring Ontario’s beleaguered health-care system to adequacy is a gargantuan challenge, but the first step is being honest about the size of the problem. That’s something the Doug Ford government has consistently failed to do.

It’s not exactly a secret that Ontario is short of every type of health worker, but the government has been reluctant to say how many more nurses, doctors and personal support workers the province needs now and in the future. So determined is this government to keep those facts from the public that it denied a Global News request for its projections on nurses and personal support workers (PSWs), arguing that the figures would damage the government’s interests when it came to health-care sector contract negotiations.

It was a ridiculous argument given the wide awareness of shortages, but it had a comic ending this week when the provincial government’s information office that denied the numbers to Global released them in response to a separate request by The Canadian Press.

The real story is not the freedom-of-information snafu, it’s the Ford government’s failure to establish health-care hiring targets, offer a rational plan to meet those targets, and report on progress towards its goals.

Instead, the government prefers to tell a cheery tale about all the nurses it has hired, the medical schools it is opening and the hospital and long-term care beds it is building. All those things are commendable, but the progress needs to be put in context.


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