Horwath: Liberal, Conservative healthcare cuts hurt Brant families

Brantford General Hospital operating above safe capacity, as high as 136 per cent, for 23 months straight

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath released shocking internal government statistics that show Brantford General Hospital has been forced to operate its acute care beds at up to 136 per cent capacity for 23 consecutive months.

“Acute care, mental health and even overflow beds are over capacity at this hospital and many others across the province,” said Horwath who was joined by concerned community members to shine a light on the problem in Brant on Thursday. “This is the result of years and years of Conservative and Liberal government cuts to health care. Frontline health care staff are being asked to do more with less, and patients are paying the price.” 

Documents obtained by the NDP under freedom on information laws show that between January 2015 and November 2016, Brantford General Hospital’s acute care and mental health beds were operating at above safe capacity every day, reaching at times as high as 136 per cent. Experts and the province deem 85 per cent capacity to be the maximum safe capacity limit.

Across the province, nearly 60 per cent of medicine wards at large community hospitals are reporting occupancy rates over the safe standard. 

The last Conservative government fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and slashed over 7,000 hospital beds. Wynne’s Liberals have done even more damage, shortchanging hospitals by at least $300 million this year alone. 

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Horwath. “We have to stop the cuts. We have to invest in care. We need a government that’s actually on the side of patients and health care workers, instead of one that just says they are.”

The NDP has committed to providing predictable base funding for hospitals that will keep up with inflation and population growth. Horwath has called for a moratorium on any more nurse layoffs and, just recently, she introduced her party’s plan to create the first universal Pharmacare program, stating her belief that no one should have to empty their wallet just to get the medicine they need. Providing drug coverage for everyone – regardless of age, income or health history – can play a role in relieving stress on hospitals.

Statement by Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns Wynne won’t stop another hydro rate hike

“Months after the NDP called on the Liberal government in the legislature to stop the 20 per cent rate hike on hydro delivery charges, Kathleen Wynne has done nothing. She just doesn’t get it. Ontarians can’t afford to pay their hydro bills as it is. Each new rate increase is pushing many in the province past their breaking point. 

Instead of listening to people and stopping the sell-off of Hydro One, Premier Wynne went ahead and put her party’s political interests ahead of the public interest. Not only has she handed majority control over Hydro One to private shareholders, but she is doing nothing to stop the utility from jacking up hydro rates for Ontarians even as their CEO gets a 500 per cent pay raise.

This disgusting situation sums up Wynne's attitude toward Ontario families. Only New Democrats have put forward a plan that will fix our broken electricity system, bring down bills by up to 30 per cent for Ontarians, and put Hydro One back into public hands where it belongs.”

Open letter to Mayor John Tory from Toronto NDP MPPs on social housing crisis in the City of Toronto

Cheri DiNovo, Parkdale-High Park NDP MPP, and Peter Tabuns, NDP MPP for Toronto-Danforth, issued the following open letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory addressing his concerns in his letter to Toronto MPPs about the city’s social housing crisis. 


His Worship
Mayor John Tory
City of Toronto
Second Floor, 100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2


Dear Mayor Tory,

Thank you for the letter regarding Toronto's social housing crisis, and the opportunity to reiterate the commitment from Andrea Horwath and the NDP. 

New Democrats are committed to supporting the City of Toronto’s capital repair plan and funding one-third of the repair costs for social housing units, sharing the responsibility equally with the city and the federal government.

Housing Minister Chris Ballard’s response to your letter, that “… the province is more than pulling its weight in making Toronto an even better place to call home and put down roots” is a slap in the face to Torontonians. Premier Kathleen Wynne has allowed Toronto’s social housing units to crumble by refusing to pay the province’s fair share of repairs.

We have requested a meeting with Minister Ballard to discuss the urgent matters raised in your letter, and the impact on Toronto Community Housing units in Parkdale-High Park, Toronto-Danforth and throughout Toronto.

We will once again urge Minister Ballard and the Wynne government to reverse the damage it has done by years of funding cuts to Toronto social housing; and urge the Liberals to finally step up and fund the province’s one-third share of social housing capital repair costs.

Failing that, our commitment to Toronto is solid. Should the NDP form a government in 2018, it will ease the housing crisis in Toronto, in part, by funding the province’s one-third share of social housing repairs.


[Original signed]                                                                               

Cheri DiNovo, MPP, Parkdale-High Park                              
Peter Tabuns, MPP, Toronto-Danforth


Ontarians deserve affordable licensed childcare not empty Liberal promises

Catherine Fife, Ontario NDP Early Years and Child Care Critic, issued the following statement.

“Today’s announcement by Ministers Hunter and Naidoo-Harris does nothing to ease parents’ struggles to find affordable child care in this province. Unfortunately, it was revealed to be little more than a publicity stunt by a Liberal government more concerned about its political fortunes ahead of next year’s election than about the urgent needs of families.

The Wynne Liberals announced a plan to make a plan when it comes to child care and that’s not good enough. The Liberals want credit for years of doing nothing while waiting lists grew and affordable, quality child care became harder to find. Parents deserve action to make affordable, quality, licensed child care spaces available right away.

After 14 years of Liberal government, Ontarians pay the highest child care fees in the nation. For all those moms and dads deciding whether going to work is even worth it, it’s clear the Liberals just don’t get it.”

Quick Facts:

  • There are only enough licensed child care spaces in Ontario for one in five children.
  • Parents in Ontario pay the highest child care fees in the country and wait on the longest lists for subsidized child care.
  • Parents pay an average of $1,152 per child, per month in child care fees
  • Wynne abandoned municipalities, refusing to pay the provincial share of child care costs and forcing municipalities to cut child care spaces.
  • The Liberal government has closed 300 schools, and has another 300 on the chopping block now – some of which housed daycare spaces.

Horwath says Sault byelection has NDP looking to 2018

SAULT STE. MARIE – Thursday’s byelection result shows the NDP overtaking the incumbent Liberals.

Speaking to community members and volunteers in the Sault Thurdsay night, Horwath was looking ahead to 2018. 

“The much bigger fight lies ahead,” she said. “Just a year from now, the people of Sault Ste. Marie – and all Ontarians – will be given a choice not just to change a seat in the assembly, but to change governments. And we’ll give Ontario the choice to elect a government that’s focused on people.

NDP’s Sattler introduces bill to make sexual violence prevention training mandatory for alcohol servers

NDP Women’s Issues critic Peggy Sattler (London West) is tabling a new bill Thursday that requires sexual violence and harassment prevention training be included in Smart Serve, the mandatory training for restaurant and bar owners and employees.

“Servers, bar owners and bartenders are already required to learn to recognize when somebody has had too much to drink and are trained to intervene to stop alcohol service, and help the guest arrange to get home safely,” said Sattler. “It is a natural extension to expand the training to help those in the industry recognize and intervene safely when their customers are at risk of sexual violence or harassment.”

Sattler’s bill, The Safe Night Out Act has widespread support and follows a recommendation from the December 2015 Final Report of the Select Committee on Sexual Violence and Harassment.  Instead of adopting the recommendation, in September 2016 the Liberals announced funding to develop voluntary sexual violence training for bartenders and servers – an announcement that many, including Toronto bar owner Nick Kennedy, felt did not go far enough. 

“I’m honoured that I’ve been able to work with groups and organizations, such as the Dandelion Project, to serve as a leader in the Toronto service industry and ensure that my staff and patrons are as safe as they can be,” said Kennedy. “Doing this work has shown me that unless training is mandatory, too few restaurants, hotels, and bars will have access to the resources that are needed to adequately train their staff and protect their patrons.”

Toronto City Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who spoke in support of the bill, agreed. Wong-Tam has already put forward a motion at Toronto City Hall calling for this very step to be taken. 

"All establishments that are profiting from the sale of alcohol have a responsibility to make sure that their guests and their clients get home safely," said Wong-Tam. “I was proud that my motion at City Hall calling for this legislation passed 35 to four, and I hope the government will make MPP Sattler’s bill a priority when they return in the fall.”

The Ontario University Students’ Association (OUSA) has also identified this as a key issue for students, and has spent the last year lobbying the government to introduce this legislation. Speaking in support of Sattler’s bill at Queen’s Park, OUSA president Andrew Clubine said “OUSA is pleased to see MPP Sattler take leadership on this important issue. Bar environments tend to be high-risk areas for sexual violence. By mandating training for management and service staff, the province would be taking a step forward in combatting sexual violence within our communities.” 

“In Ontario, we know that alcohol or drugs were factors in one in five reported sexual assaults, but the actual incidence is likely to be much, much higher,” said Sattler. “Earlier this week, all three parties recognized Sexual Assault Prevention month. My bill would go a long way to preventing sexual violence and harassment by training bystanders how to intervene when they see someone at risk.”

Horwath fights for families, affordability during legislative session

With Ontarians facing a skyrocketing cost of living, Andrea Horwath and the NDP used the spring session of the legislature to lay out big plans to make life more affordable.

In February, Horwath announced her plan to return Hydro One to public hands and lower hydro bills by at least 30 per cent. In April, she announced that the NDP will create the first universal Pharmacare plan in Canada – drug coverage for everyone, so that no one has to empty their wallet to get the medicine they need.

NDP MPP Campbell: Liberal government passing the buck on mercury cleanup

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell says the Wynne Liberals are illegally trying to shift responsibility for the cleanup of mercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon River instead of helping communities suffering the consequences of decades of mercury poisoning. 

“Two days ago we learned the government’s plan for cleaning up the Wabigoon River is to offload this responsibility onto somebody else,” explained Campbell during question period this morning. “The Ontario government intends to make Domtar responsible for cleaning up the mercury, even though decades ago the Ontario government formally declared that Domtar is not responsible for cleaning up the mercury.”

Ontario’s Superior Court previously ruled it illegal for the provincial government to pass responsibility for the cleanup to another party. The mercury contamination dates back over 40 years, to a previous owner of the mill site. Since then, residents of the Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations have been dealing with the devastating consequences of multi-generational, community-wide mercury poisoning.

“The premier is well aware that Ontario’s Superior Court has ruled that it is illegal to offload their responsibility. She doesn’t care that what she is doing is illegal. She knows that she will lose this latest court battle,” said Campbell. “Her goal is not to win. Her goal is to delay. All the while, families in Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong are literally dying of mercury poisoning.”

Campbell called on Kathleen Wynne to stop delaying the cleanup, asking, “Will the premier listen to her conscience, stop this pointless delay and get to work cleaning up the mercury once and for all?”

Wynne government failing Londoners in Mental Health Crisis: MPP Sattler

During question period Wednesday, Peggy Sattler, NDP MPP for London West, demanded an acknowledgement from Kathleen Wynne that she is failing Londoners by refusing to approve a mental health project to help thousands of Londoners.

This was the sixth time MPP Sattler has raised the issue in the Ontario legislature over the past three months, as yet another London West constituent contacted her to report a disastrous mental health ER experience.

NPD MPP demands Wynne stop planned closure of five hospitals

Today, Welland MPP Cindy Forster was joined by the Ontario Health Coalition and the Niagara Health Coalition to demand that Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals stop their plan to close five hospitals in the Niagara region.

The group brought more than 2,500 letters from community members urging the government to immediately stop the planned hospital shut-downs. 

“The Liberal government has a proposal in place to close more hospitals in South Niagara – in Welland and Port Colborne – all based on a non-validated report issued in 2012 by Kevin Smith that experts describe as a report lacking ‘total evidence or reference,’” said Forster. “ The proposal was put forward without any formal consultation with families in my community. Should it move forward, the restructure will be unprecedented, putting tens of thousands at risk.”

The government’s current proposal is to entirely close five community hospitals in the Niagara region, in Welland, Port Colborne, Fort Erie, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls, and replace them with one hospital on the southern outskirts of Niagara Falls. The Welland hospital, alone, provides health services for roughly 100,000 Welland and area residents. 

“We know that Niagara has one of the highest populations of seniors in the province – many of whom live on lower incomes. Worse, the region already has one of the lowest number of long-term care beds per population of seniors,” said Forster. “Studies show that with increased growth in the region as a result of more and more people drawn to the area, closing more hospitals in our community will have devastating impacts on already high capacity levels, putting families at enormous risk.”

The currently proposed ambulatory care centre to replace the hospital will not be a hospital. It won’t provide in-patient health care services, emergency care, nor complex and acute care. Welland and South Niagara area residents concerned about the closure of their hospitals joined Forster to present Wynne with over 2,500 personal letters opposing the closure of their local hospitals.

“Will the minister listen to the experts, and to the message brought by constituents today and put an immediate stop to the short-sighted proposal to closing the Welland and Port Colborne hospitals?” asked Forster.


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@ 02:00 PM
Art Show, Wine & Cheese: "Artists of the Land Between"
Location: 5155 Black River Road in Washago, ON, Canada

An event in support of Simcoe North NDP.

$55 per person.