Horwath launches platform for Northern Ontario
SUDBURY — Andrea Horwath and the NDP are releasing a Northern platform — a plan to make life easier, healthier and more affordable for Northerners.
“I want people to get the health care they need without long waits or long drives. And folks need lower costs and more good-paying jobs, so the next generation can stay and raise their own family in Northern Ontario,” said Horwath.
“People in Northern Ontario have been denied their fair share for too long by too many governments. But the good news is, together, we can start to fix that.”
Under Horwath’s plan:
- Ontario will hire 300 doctors in Northern Ontario, including 100 specialists and 40 mental health practitioners. Northerners will have less highway medicine, and will get mental health care with their health card, not their credit card.
- A Northern Health Travel Grant Guarantee will ensure Northerners never have to wait longer than 14 days to be paid back for health travel.
- The overdose crisis will be declared a public health emergency, and additional supervised consumption sites will be expedited. The NDP will also invest in treatment, including detox and rehab beds.
- Northern communities will get more training and job opportunities in the trades, mining, and in the film and television sector. Ontario will open community-run employment and training centres.
- Instead of Doug Ford’s cut to Canadian content rules for transit projects, more trains and streetcars will be built in Northern Ontario.
- High-Speed internet will be available province-wide by 2025.
- The Northlander will be fully restored, and will connect with the Polar Express in Cochrane.
- And more.
“Our plan is also guided by the unique needs and rights of Northern Indigenous and Francophone communities. Indigenous Peoples have been denied respect and basic needs, like clean water and culturally appropriate health care. And the cuts Doug Ford made to Francophone education and culture have been felt deeply. Together, we can turn that around,” said Horwath.
“Instead of more of Doug Ford’s cuts — from health care cuts to mental health and addictions cuts — let’s invest in the North — in Northern affordability, Northern health care and the North’s future.”
Highlights of the NDP’s Northern platform include:
- Immediately hiring and recruiting 300 doctors in Northern Ontario including 100 specialists and 40 mental health practitioners. The NDP will work with the Ontario Medical Association and Northern communities to enhance incentives and supports for physicians and health-care workers to practise in northern Ontario and other communities that are chronically underserviced. Horwath will also work with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to expedite the process for international medical graduates to obtain their license to work in Northern Ontario.
- Creating a Northern Health Travel Grant Guarantee to ensure Northerners never have to wait longer than 14 days to be paid back for health-related travel.
- Investing to guarantee highspeed internet will be available province-wide by 2025.
- Working with industry partners and trades groups to promote and develop careers in the trades. The NDP will bring more trades training to Northern Ontario communities, and open community-run employment and training centres.
- Prioritizing health care in French. The NDP will ensure the Ministry of Health makes French language access a key part of its planning process while also increasing the number of community health centres, long-term care homes, mental health and addiction services by and for Francophones
- Working with Ontario’s First Nations in a true government-to-government relationship for community-led solutions for housing, health care, mental health care, clean drinking water and economic development.
- Fully restoring the Northlander as part of our Northern Rail Strategy, and connecting it with the Polar Express in Cochrane.