NDP calls on Elections Ontario to investigate Ford government contract with private health-care company

Elections Ontario is being asked to investigate a private health-care company whose corporate directors made a series of donations to the Progressive Conservative party weeks before the company was awarded a sole-sourced contract to run vaccine clinics in the province.

Ontario's NDP wrote a letter to Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa asking him to probe 17 "potentially coordinated donations" made by the corporate directors and family members of FH Health -- a private firm that was tapped by the Doug Ford government to run 10 vaccine clinics in the Greater Toronto Area.

The NDP is calling into question $42,600 worth of contributions over the month of September to the Ontario PC party of amounts ranging from $1,000 to $3,300 made by the President, Director, Chair and Chief Medical Officer of FH Health and several others who share family or business connections with the company's directors.

"When you've got executives making the maximum donation, and their family members making the maximum donation all around the same time, that isn't just a fluke, that's not just a coincidence," said NDP MPP Taras Natyshak.

Natyshak says the donations might have broken Ontario's election financing laws which forbids corporations from funneling money to political parties through individual donors and prevents a party from knowingly accepting false contributions.

The NDP has also asked Ontario's Auditor General to investigate the deal between the government and FH health.

The Ford government, however, is denying any quid pro quo saying that FH Health won a contract in 2021 to run mobile testing clinics in the province and already had an "existing relationship with Ontario Health" before the scope of the contract was expanded.

"The Ministry of the Solicitor General entered into an emergency procurement with FH Health to establish additional vaccine clinics – to urgently accelerate boosters for education workers before the return of in-person learning – as they already had physical capacity and Health Human Resources supports in place," said Stephen Warner, a spokesperson for Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

The government also pointed out that three of the corporate directors also made donations to the Ontario Liberal party between 2018 and 2021, including donations made to Steven Del Duca's leadership campaign.

While FH Health has not responded to emails from CTV News Toronto, a spokesperson denied any wrongdoing in a statement to Queen's Park Today, which initially reported news of the donations.

“Individuals, in their personal capacity, may have chosen to donate to political parties on all sides over the years. In every case they have done so on their own and most certainly not at the behest or suggestion of the company,” the company told the publication.