It's a New Day in Ontario Politics

Although the leaves have yet to change colour and BBQ weather is still with us for the time being, autumn is fast approaching.  Before the leaves hit the ground yet again, it is important to take a breath and reflect on what a consequential summer we have had here in Ontario, particularly on the political side.

After a hard-fought election campaign, June saw the swearing in of Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative government after nearly fifteen years of Ontario Liberal Party rule.  As was widely expected, Ford moved to appoint Ontario’s former Patient Ombudsman, Christine Elliott, as his first Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. 

Elliott’s appointment aside, Ford has made several other key appointments within the broader health sector.  Shortly after the June 7th election Former Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Bob Bell, announced his retirement.  Taking his place is Helen Angus.  Helen draws on her extensive experience through eight years in government and public service agencies where she has demonstrated experience in the areas of broad operational planning, policy and strategy.  Rounding out the senior team advising Ford on healthcare policy is Dr. Reuben Devlin who the Premier has appointed as Special Advisor on Improving Healthcare & Ending Hallway Medicine.  Dr. Devlin, who was previously President & CEO of Humber River Hospital, will lead a council of advisors looking at what systemic changes Ontario’s health system will require to innovate and operate more efficiently.

RPNAO has always taken the view that it is important to have a positive working relationship with all governments, regardless of political stripe.  You will notice that unlike other nursing organizations, we did not take an active role in attacking the Ontario PC’s during the election campaign.  This has served us well with the incoming government as it has allowed us to position RPNAO as a reasonable organization willing to work in a collaborative manner.  The strategy seems to be paying off as Minister Elliott and her office have expressed an openness to meet regularly with us and seem open to taking our key issues seriously.

RPNAO’s government relations team has already reached out to the new Minister, Deputy Minister and Dr. Devlin to ensure that they are well-versed on issues affecting RPN’s across the province.  Key priorities which we have identified thus far are our recent proposal to expand RPN scope of practice, the importance of ensuring decisions around hospital staffing mix are made at the point of care and not at Queen’s Park, and the need for a broader health human resources strategy including within long-term care.

The RPNAO team looks forward to meeting with the new Minister, Deputy Minister and Dr. Devlin this fall to begin moving these key issues forward.

Category: Influencing Policy, Influencing CareDate: Tuesday, October 9, 2018