Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Bonnie Crombie is proposing a new minimum wage increase for personal support workers and nurses in Ontario, Global News has learned, as part of a health care platform Hers was designed to win over members before the leadership vote.
Crombie, who has consistently been in first place in the Liberal leadership race, is set to unveil his health care platform alongside Liberal MP Adil Shamji, who has dropped out of the race in September to endorse the front-runner.
As part of the agreement, Crombie pledged to adopt Shamji’s health care policies, which were largely informed by his position as a front-line emergency room physician.
The overarching theme of Crombie’s health care platform, which focused on supporting universal health care and opposing the Ford government’s health care policies from wage caps to the rise of for-profit clinics to deal with the backlog of surgeries.
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“The threats posed by Doug Ford’s increasing privatization of our health care system are what motivated me to enter this leadership race,” Crombie said. “Our single-payer, publicly funded universal health care system is treasured by Ontario families, including my own, and we must protect it.
The policy document provided to Global News says the Liberals under Crombie will protect the Canada Health Act “in its spirit and letter” and recommend enforcement tools to be used. used to hold “bad guys” accountable.
To address the province’s surgical backlog, Crombie promised to increase hospital operating room hours and reduce the province’s reliance on private, for-profit surgery centres.
However, the document does not address what Crombie will do with the Community Diagnostic and Surgery Center’s existing private surgical clinics, which provide OHIP-funded services that have expanded under Ford government as a solution to surgical wait times.
The policy document does not provide estimated funding needed to increase surgical hours.
Crombie also promised to reverse the controversial closure of the Minden emergency department and proposed boosting health care funding to address pressure on emergency rooms and prevent closures.
However, one of the most expensive promises involves compensation for healthcare workers.
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In addition to repealing Bill 124, the Ford government’s controversial legislation to cap pay increases for thousands of employees in the broader public service, including health care workers, the Crombies platform promises would increase the base minimum wage for thousands of health care workers. .
According to the policy document, the minimum wage for personal support workers will start at $25 an hour while the pay scale for registered practical nurses will start at $35 an hour.
The platform document notes that the move is aimed at eliminating pay disparities between hospital-based healthcare workers, long-term care, home and community care workers, which, according to the unions, has contributed to the shortage of medical staff in nursing home provinces, especially after the pandemic.
However, the policy stance does not come with a price.
Crombie has until the end of November to persuade some 80,000 party members to support her.
Other Liberal leadership candidates include federal MPs Nate Erskine-Smith and Yasir Naqvi and provincial MP Ted Hsu.
The party will announce its next leader on December 2.
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