Bill 41, Patients First Act, fails Ontarians, does nothing to fix broken home care system

NDP Health Critic and MPP for Nickel Belt, France Gélinas expressed her disappointment with the passage of the controversial Bill 41, Patients First Act, which became law on December 8th after it was passed by the majority Liberal government in the Legislature.

“Significant attempts were made by the NDP to have the bill amended to fix home care, and better address the health care concerns of patients and health care practitioners in Ontario. In its current form the act does little to actually put ‘patients first,’” said Gélinas.

The government claims they consulted health care practitioners in the province, but after public committee hearings at the Legislature, it became clear that many key organizations involved in health care delivery in Ontario had not been consulted and held serious concerns about flaws in the legislation.

These flaws could lead to bureaucrats accessing patient’s confidential health records, Local Health Integrated Networks (LHINs) appointing unaccountable supervisors to community agencies, as well as create an opening to further privatization of health care. The bill also fails to improve health care access for First Nations and Francophones. NDP amendments addressing these flaws were voted down by the Liberals. 

Most shocking of all, “Bill 41 was brought forward because our home care system is broken. Nothing in this bill will fix our broken home care system,” emphasized Gélinas. The bill will make the board of the CCAC disappear, but the board was never the problem, and it changes the position of CEO of a CCAC into VP of a LHIN.  Nothing else changes, the poor quality of home care, the long wait list for people needing home care, the rationing of care, the missed appointments- all of that stays the same! 

“Before Bill 41 was passed by the government, my office received hundreds of letters from concerned Ontarians asking us to make sure the bill was changed or completely scrapped. Since Bill 41 became law, we continue to receive letters asking that the law be repealed. Ontarians are extremely concerned and so are New Democrats,” she said.