Ontario well being minister’s speaking factors edited to take away denial of privatized well being care

Angelena Iglesia

Because the Ford authorities confronted intense questions through the summer time in regards to the non-public supply of health-care companies, a set of speaking factors given to Ontario’s Minister of Well being included a forceful denial of privatization — phrases which had been by no means uttered by Sylvia Jones as a result of they had been scratched out from her talking notes.

A duplicate of Sylvia Jones’s home binder, obtained by International Information via a freedom of data request, carries staff-prepared speaking factors on quite a lot of topics associated to her $75 billion portfolio and included a categorical rejection of privatization.

“No, we’re not privatizing healthcare. Full cease,” the doc reads. “Ontarians will proceed to make use of their OHIP card not their bank card when receiving companies.”

Someday in August 2022, nonetheless, the doc was amended and the important thing phrase, “No, we’re not privatizing healthcare” was scratched out. The dedication was by no means uttered by Ontario’s minister of well being.

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A search of transcripted home debates from August onwards for the sentence faraway from Jones’ home binder didn’t return any outcomes.

A part of a web page in Sylvia Jones’ home binder, the place a speaking level seems to have been eliminated.

International Information

“We’d wish to direct you to her feedback from the identical day because the request,” a spokesperson for Jones’ workplace mentioned. “The Minister has been clear all alongside, Ontarians will proceed to make use of their OHIP card to entry well being care.”

Jones made a number of references to OHIP on Aug. 11 — the day after International Information submitted its freedom of data request — however particular wording about privatization was not used.

“No, no, no — OHIP playing cards are used within the province of Ontario to fund publicly funded health-care methods,” Jones additionally mentioned on Aug. 11. “That may proceed below our watch… we’ll proceed to fund OHIP companies via our well being care system.”

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The scored out particular dedication was not talked about.

Jones’ workplace didn’t clarify who would have made the modifications to the home binder or why.

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Ministers are given home binders within the legislature with authorities speaking factors, statistics and key messages.

“The home binder is principally an enormous cheat sheet for ministers entering into query interval or throughout debate,” mentioned Ashley Csanady, a senior marketing consultant for McMillan Vantage and a former Ontario Liberal staffer and journalist.

She mentioned that each non-political and political staffers contribute speaking factors to the doc. Chiefs of workers, administrators of communication and the minister herself are amongst these with entry, she mentioned.

The photocopy obtained by International Information exhibits a number of modifications had been made to a web page entitled “Innovation in Ontario’s Hospitals,” which says it was up to date on Aug. 10 inside the minister’s home binder.

One other speaking level additionally seems to have been axed.

“I need to be clear, there was no enlargement to the variety of non-public hospitals who supply publicly funded procedures in Ontario,” the unique observe mentioned.

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The phrase “publicly” was scrubbed out and changed by the handwritten phrase “OHIP.” All the speaking level was scored out.


A photocopy of Sylvia Jones’ home binder suggests edits had been made to take away language round non-public well being care.

International Information

Close to the underside of the web page, the phrase “publicly” has been faraway from one other speaking level, so a later bullet level says, “These amenities already carry out OHIP funded procedures” as an alternative of claiming “publicly funded procedures.”

“On this, it seems to be to me as if there was a set of messaging that was being proposed as very definitive, ‘We is not going to improve any non-public position for well being care in Ontario,’” Csanady mentioned.

“And that made it so far as the binder after which somebody — possibly the minister herself, possibly the chief of workers, possibly the director of communications — mentioned that’s too far.”

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Learn extra:

Ontario Well being needs public-private integration as hospitals wrestle with staffing

On Aug. 18, Ontario unveiled a five-point plan to sort out delays, staffing shortages and backlogs inside the province’s struggling health-care system.

To scale back wait occasions, the province determined to have a look at growing “surgical procedures in paediatric hospitals and present non-public clinics lined by OHIP.”

That change was introduced eight days after the health-care innovation speaking factors had been drafted for Jones to repeat within the legislature.

Well being minister met with non-public hospital

In July, throughout her orientation as Minister of Well being, Jones met with a personal hospital. Her calendar, which was additionally obtained via a freedom of data request, lists a gathering with Clearpoint Non-public Hospital.

The hospital’s web site describes it as “one of many few public/non-public hospital licenses below the Ontario Ministry of Well being.”

A spokesperson for Jones didn’t deal with a query asking if this assembly was associated to bulletins about non-public hospitals made in August.

The binder additionally contains a number of messages apparently curated on March 31 for then-Minister of Well being Christine Elliott to push again in opposition to a marketing campaign by the Ontario Well being Coalition accusing the Ford authorities of privatizing the province’s well being care.

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“This authorities is targeted on constructing a greater and extra sturdy publicly funded well being care system for the longer term,” one line says.

One other provides, “A brand new license for a personal hospital in Ontario has not been issued since 1973.”

Neither line was edited or annotated within the photocopy obtained by International Information.

Learn extra:

Ontario well being minister says health-care entry via OHIP received’t change

The Ontario Well being Coalition launched a marketing campaign, together with garden indicators, to battle in opposition to “the Ford authorities’s unprecedented well being care privatization plans.”

In an August sit-down interview with International Information, the CEO of Ontario Well being mentioned the non-public sector has traditionally operated independently in Ontario and advised the continuation of that system may result in extra poaching.

“We’ve bought to watch out about this, and we will’t be taking from the general public system over into the non-public system. It’s a zero-sum recreation,” Matthew Anderson advised International Information.

Jones has mentioned Ontarians shouldn’t be “afraid of innovation.”

Click to play video: 'Global News speaks with Ontario Health CEO amid ER closures, concerns of privatization'

International Information speaks with Ontario Well being CEO amid ER closures, issues of privatization

Anderson pushed again on the assertions of privatization and mentioned that’s not what Ontario Well being is advocating for.

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“If my household hears ‘privatization’ their thoughts will doubtless go to funding. They are going to be involved that they now should pay out of pocket to get entry to one thing. And the premier has made that clear, we’re not speaking about extra private-funded companies,” Anderson mentioned.

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