• A voter’s guide to the 2018 Ontario election

    The campaign of 2018 featured bold social policies for pharmacare, dental care and child care, though they may never come to pass. The bad news: The parties’ plans to pay for their promises don’t quite add up — and in the case of the Progressive Conservatives, were never made public as promised. The worst news: None of the above may matter, because this election is being fought mostly over personalities, not policies. For better or for worse, here’s how the major parties rank on five major issues facing the province in this election:

  • Hot!

    Two worlds collide [Ontario Election 2018]

    … governments that are afraid to raise taxes have two choices—go into deficit or sell off public assets. Part of Wynne’s unpopularity rests on this fundamental dilemma. She decided to both go into deficit and sell off public assets, namely the province’s majority shares in Hydro One. Outrageously high hydro bills ensued and Wynne is having trouble living that down… The moral of the story is that activist premiers may be capable of moving the needle on key social policies, but unless they’re equally progressive on the revenue side of the equation, it’s hard to strike a true balance.

  • Clarity needed on what drug manufacturers are paying doctors millions of dollars for

    … it’s disquieting to know that Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin paid Canadian doctors $2 million in 2016 for services rendered. And, according to reporting by the Star’s Jesse McLean, that means the drug manufacturer paid Canadian doctors three times the amount it paid American doctors on a per capita basis… Full disclosure will make physicians more cautious about accepting payments that may influence how they treat their patients.

  • Why Trudeau may take a pass on universal pharmacare, despite his party’s wishes

    Canada spends more on prescription drugs, through a chaotic mix of public, private and individual payers, than nearly every other country on earth: $34 billion annually, or roughly $1,000 per capita — a third higher than the OECD average, and twice what countries like Denmark and the Netherlands pay. Yet an estimated 10 per cent of our people have no drug insurance — two to three times the rate in comparable countries — while another 10 per cent are classed as under-insured…

  • Community justice hubs to offer addiction, mental health support under same roof as courts

    In the present model, “the judge will say, ‘You need a treatment plan and can you just get on the streetcar and go down the street to CAMH?’ And people walk out the door and they are gone.” Instead, at a justice centre, the “accused actually has access to a social worker, someone they can point to, and say, ‘You need to go talk to that person who is sitting at the back of the courtroom and they are going to help you put together a plan to deal with all the issues you are facing.’ ”

  • Ottawa should decriminalize all drugs – it’s effective policy

    … It makes sense, for reasons of public health, human rights and fiscal responsibility, to take a less punitive approach to drugs. But none of these arguments for a better, more humane response imply encouraging or condoning drug use. In fact, it is precisely because these substances, whether legal or illegal, can sometimes cause harm that we need to abandon approaches that have demonstrably compounded, rather than reduced, those harms.

  • Universal pharmacare the right prescription for Canada

    the Parliamentary Budget Office calculates that while universal pharmacare would cost governments $7 billion annually, it would provide Canadians on the whole with net savings of $8.1 billion a year.
    To put it another way, any increase in taxes attributable to pharmacare would be more than compensated for by out-of-pocket savings… perhaps this report is a sign that, finally, this eminently sensible idea is gaining political traction in Ottawa.

  • More talk about universal pharmacare in Canada, but still no action

    Since the Royal Commission on Health Services issued its recommendations on reforming still wet-behind-the-ears medicare in 1964, there have been dozens upon dozens of earnest reports, each saying more or less the same thing and each greeted with bons mots, then dutifully filed on a dusty shelf… The report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, predictably, called for Canada’s patchwork of private and public drug plans to be replaced with a national single-payer pharmacare system.

  • Canada should implement national single-payer pharmacare, MPs say

    … the all-party committee on health made 18 recommendations, including expanding the Canada Health Act to cover prescription drugs dispensed outside of hospitals; creating a unified list of drugs that would qualify for public coverage; and asking the provinces, territories and the federal government to share the cost of a national pharmacare program. The goal… would be to ensure all Canadians get the medications they need, while also reining in the country’s per-capita drug spending and drug prices, both of which are among the highest in the world.

  • NDP’s Andrea Horwath finds her footing on progressive platform

    While Horwath may gain traction with soaring rhetoric, her platform remains slippery in spots — brimming with good ideas on caring, but burdened by a black hole on hydro promises that sound too good to be true. Like the Liberals with their ambitious budgetary spending, the New Democrats stress caring while downplaying paying for it… The NDP fiscal plan calls for a budget deficit of roughly half the $6.7 billion projected in the Liberal budget in 2018-19, thanks to higher taxes on the rich and corporations