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What would election candidates do to address healthcare issues in Ontario

Healthcare has been a hot-button topic, even before the pandemic. COVID-19 has exposed cracks in the system, and there is currently a backlog of surgeries in the province. We asked candidates running in the riding what they would do to address the issues in the healthcare system.

Ted Darby, Ontario Liberal Party Candidate says the province needs to recognize that nurses and doctors have been the heroes of the pandemic and needs to recognize the burnout they are experiencing, saying you can only push people so far. His party wants to remove Bill 124, which he calls wage suppression legislation. He says healthcare workers need to recover, and the province needs to build and invest in the healthcare system. He also says the province does not need a two-tier healthcare system.

Eric Depoe, Ontario NDP Candidate says healthcare has been cut back and neglected for years. He says both the Liberals and Conservatives have cut all the resilience out of the system and he adds they can’t handle stressors like the pandemic. He points to a time he went door-knocking and met a nursing student. While she had every intention of becoming a nurse and was committed, a placement showed her what nurses are being put through and switched instead to kinesiology. Depoe says this is symptomatic of what’s going on in healthcare, with nurses, and personal support workers being driven out of the system. His party will also repeal Bill 124.

New Blue Party Candidate Joyce Ried says she has worked for 50 years as a registered nurse and says the province has been experiencing hallway healthcare for 35 years. She wants a major reform done from the top down, and wants to add more mental health and addictions supports, which she says has been lacking. For places like North Hastings, she wants to make sure people don’t have to travel 100 kilometres for things like X-rays. She wants to look at having specialists come once a week to remote areas to save people from doing major commutes to larger hospitals. She says the New Blue Party is prepared to revamp the system from the top down.

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Ontario Party Candidate and Party Leader Derek Sloan says his party will permit non-profits and corporations to build hospitals and allow everyone to have private insurance so that they have different options available. He wants to hire thousands of more healthcare professionals and increase bed capacity in the province. He also wants to streamline accreditation for foreign-trained professionals and open up more spots in medical schools and nursing schools to keep med students in the province. He also wants to assist private organizations with alternatives to established medical providers like the Covid Care Alliance.

The Green Party of Ontario candidate Christina Wilson, and Progressive Conservative Candidate Ric Bresee, were unavailable for comment.

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