Ford’s throne speech says more can be done in the health workforce; does not offer new solutions

Ontario Premier Doug Ford acknowledged in his throne speech Tuesday that more can be done to ease pressures on the health care system, but offered no new solutions to the problem that has led to the temporary closure of hospital rooms. emergency throughout the province.

Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell delivered Ford’s speech from the throne, marking the start of a new legislative session, and said the Progressive Conservative government is working with stakeholders to identify ideas to tackle the problem.

Ford has been prime minister since 2018, and the speech touts what he has already done in health, including adding thousands of hospital beds and nurses, investing in home and community care, introducing a grant to attract health professionals health to rural and remote areas, and planning. to build 30,000 new long-term care beds.

“While these historic investments have helped support the province’s health system during the most challenging period in modern history, there is no question that, like health systems across Canada, they continue to experience significant pressures, including a depleted workforce and increasingly stressed emergency departments.” Dowdeswell said.

“There is still more that can be done. His government is actively engaging with health system partners to identify urgent and feasible solutions and will implement the necessary measures to help alleviate immediate pressures, while ensuring the province is ready to stay open during any winter surge.”

Emergency departments across Ontario closed for hours or days this summer, which stakeholders and advocates say is due to a nursing staffing crisis. Advocates have urged Ford to repeal public sector pay restraint legislation it introduced in 2019, saying it is hurting efforts to recruit and retain nurses.

The throne speech begins by discussing a global “growing sense of uncertainty” amid COVID-19, high inflation and the war in Ukraine, particularly its impacts on supply chains.

“Unprecedented spending during the pandemic has created new fiscal challenges here in Ontario and across Canada that will require prudent economic management in the months and years to come,” the speech said.

“Taken together, these looming fiscal and economic challenges cannot be underestimated or ignored. They must be confronted head-on. And there are no easy solutions.

Ford’s speech points to rising interest rates in response to high inflation and warns that Ontario, like the rest of the country, must be prepared for the possibility of a short-term economic slowdown.

The speech heavily touts key parts of Ford’s agenda, including building roads and other infrastructure, attracting investment in making electric vehicles and a skilled trades strategy that seeks to address labor shortages.

It also notes that, as promised during the election, the government will increase disability support payments by five percent and link future increases to inflation, and offers a new promise to give an additional $225 million in direct payments to parents. “to help their children”. catch up.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 9, 2022.

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