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The Ontario NDP has released a second set of leaked government documents that reportedly indicate the Ford government is planning to privatize certain aspects of the province’s health care system, among them the Ornge air ambulance service that is currently operated as a non-profit charitable organization.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath spoke at a press conference on Feb. 4, where she said the latest documents outline the creation of a new super agency that will “partner with public and private sector entities.”
According to a tweet from 680News reporter Richard Southern, which showed an excerpt from the documents, several health care-related agencies have been targeted for “outsourcing,” including inspections, laboratories, licensing, devices and Ornge.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott — who herself was an Ornge air ambulance patient following an accident at her cottage in 2017 — responded to the allegations later on Feb. 4. She charged Horwath with fearmongering and making “shallow partisan attempts to politicize health care.”
In a press conference, Elliott said the provincial government is still evaluating a number of different options for health care reform, and that a plan has not yet been finalized.
“We will not be privatizing any of the services referenced today by Andrea Horwath,” emphasized Elliott. “The document she released today was an internal non-partisan public service document which I had not seen.”
She went on to say it is normal procedure for public service agencies to draft programs for government consideration.
“Options developed by the public service are simply that — options,” said Elliott.
When questioned by the press about why some of the documents seemed to indicate they had already been approved by Cabinet, the health minister reiterated that plans have not been finalized and options are still being considered.
The head of the public service released a memo saying the person responsible for the document leaks has been fired and the Ontario Provincial Police have been notified.