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Drummond report falls off Liberal radar, Liberals still looking to ‘short-term fixes’

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Sep. 21 2012
Central to his prescription was avoiding “short-term fixes” and “across-the-board cuts,” which allow structural problems to fester… No section of the report was more explicit on this front than the one on labour costs, which account for the bulk of government’s expenditures… Mr. Drummond’s report still serves as a useful catalogue of cost-cutting options. Its brief time as the guiding orthodox

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New delivery models, not talk, are key to health-care reform

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

1 August 2012
Although per-capita health costs are already relatively low compared with other provinces, a structural deficit is forcing Ontario to try to drive them lower still… Among the advantages of a federation in which our challenges are similar, but not exactly the same, is that we can learn from each other. When one province experiments with new delivery models, others can be counted on to take notes, if not to outright cheer them on.

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Politicians, not Catholics, deserve Ontario’s wrath for funding religious schools

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

May. 30 2012
to tell Catholics they can have their own schools but not their own beliefs surely defeats whatever purpose these schools are still supposed to serve. That leaves – should leave – two choices. One would be to let Catholics run their publicly funded schools according to their value system. The other would be for government finally to accept that, sometimes, progress involves a few headaches, and start treating Catholics the same as everyone else – free to practice their faith as they see fit, including with religious schools, but not on the public dime.

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Health care sits top of mind as Ontario wrestles its deficit

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

May. 26, 2012
The changes to doctors’ fee schedules that have already been announced, targeted mostly at a few specialists’ groups such as ophthalmologists and radiologists, should help… But to maintain that limited growth through 2017-18, as promised, will require major structural changes that are likely to have a bigger impact on service delivery. With everything from hospital mergers and the centralization of services to stricter standards for prescriptions and referrals likely to be on the table in the years to come

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Ontario needs to do its health-care homework

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Dec. 06, 2011
… total annual funding to family physicians went up by 32 per cent between 2006-07 and 2009-10, from $2.8-billion to $3.7-billion. And despite the higher costs and the ostensibly improved access, the health ministry was unable to provide any evidence that wait times for physicians have gone down… The path out of a $16-billion deficit, more or less endorsed by all three provincial parties in the recent election, revolves largely around flattening health spending increases…

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Posted in Health Delivery System | 1 Comment »

Defeatist attitude biggest obstacle to tackling native problems

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Jun. 09, 2011
Reserves are some of the only places where Ottawa is mandated to deliver social services, and its dismal record in doing so is reflected by a dropout rate of roughly 60 per cent… A meaningful, targeted contribution to first nations education in Ontario would probably only cost tens of millions of dollars annually, but would set a worrying precedent if that money came from the province. If education, then why not also health care and clean drinking water and everything else Ottawa falls short on?

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Ottawa grabs the attention, but the provinces face the heavy lifting

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Mar. 23, 2011
It remains to be seen how exactly the province will achieve the monumental challenge of flattening health care’s cost curve, which was at the centre of the long-term deficit-reduction plan that Mr. Duncan introduced last year… The federal government… doesn’t face the same crunch, largely because it doesn’t deliver health care – a program that will continue to get more expensive because of an aging population and the ever-increasing costs of new technologies and treatments.

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Record on education is Ontario premier’s best case for re-election

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

… the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) released rankings of 15-year-olds’ academic performance… (with) Ontario performing well above the Canadian average, catching up to Alberta (which had previously led the country) and trailing only Shanghai in literacy… The next big test, beyond the somewhat messy rollout of full-day kindergarten… will likely include targeting boys’ literacy (which lags well behind girls’), improving performance in science, and getting more high-end students into elite status.

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Health-care crisis a political hot potato

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Aug. 12, 2010
… LHIN is now officially a dirty word in Ontario. Short for Local Health Integration Network, the acronym has become synonymous with bloated, arm’s-length bureaucracy indifferent to Ontarians’ concerns as it rams hospital reforms down their throats. But getting rid of all 14 LHINs in the province, as opposition leader Tim Hudak has pledged to do, won’t address what’s causing all the friction in places like Niagara. More than anything else, the LHINs are just lightning rods.

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Natives to win HST concessions from Ottawa

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Jun. 16, 2010
Until this month, Ottawa had ignored natives’ pleas for a provincewide point-of-sale exemption from the HST after it takes effect on July 1. But with native leaders set to plan protests that could include outright blockades, federal and provincial officials engaged in a frantic round of negotiations. Sources say that an 11th-hour deal to give aboriginals the exemption is now imminent…

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