Ontario health minister says health-care access through OHIP won't change

Sylvia Jones

TORONTO - Ontario's health minister is emphasizing today that people in the province will always be able to access health care without paying out of pocket, a day after she came under fire for refusing to rule out further privatization in the system.

Interim NDP Leader Peter Tabuns asked Sylvia Jones in question period today if the minister thinks patients should start paying for care they now receive as of right.

She responded by saying access to health-care through OHIP cards "is never going to change."

However, she did not rule out when asked, more of a role for private corporations to deliver public services, which already happens in Ontario's system.

Jones says Ontario should not be afraid of innovation.

The minister's comments come in the context of the government considering various ways to deal with health staff shortages that have led to emergency departments across the province closing for hours or days at a time.