Jan. 15 2015 The Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins Minister of Health and Long Term Care 10th Floor, Hepburn Block 80 Grosvenor Street Toronto, Ontario M7A 2C4
Dear Minister, Re: Parking Fees at Ontario Hospitals We first wrote to the Minister of Health on July 25, 2011 regarding this problem.
We are encouraged by the commitment of our Premier and you to remove these barriers to care.
We believe those people living in poverty, the aged, those on fixed incomes need and deserve universal access to medical care. All Ontarians expect fair and universal access to health care as a matter of national pride and identity.
We are aware of our Province’s indebtedness, but it is immoral to achieve budget balancing on the backs of those suffering health crises.
We believe this can be resolved in a much more compassionate, Canadian way.
WE ADVOCATE FAIR HOSPITAL PARKING CHARGES FOR EVERYONE.
We would be pleased to assist you. It is our prayer that your government will receive the wisdom and courage to legislate the necessary changes.
Elizabeth Plashkes Dan Horchik John Hazlewood Alan Powell
September 25, 2014
The Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
80 Grosvenor Street
10th Floor, Hepburn Block
Dear Minister Hoskins:
I am honoured to welcome you to your role as Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. We have a strong Cabinet in place, and I am confident that together we will build Ontario up, create new opportunities and champion a secure future for people across our province. The people of Ontario have entrusted their government to be a force for good, and we will reward that trust by working every day in the best interests of every person in this province.
As we implement a balanced and comprehensive plan for Ontario, we will lead from the activist centre. We will place emphasis on partnerships with businesses, communities and people to help foster continued economic growth and make a positive impact on the lives of every Ontarian. This collaborative approach will shape all the work we do. It will ensure we engage people on the issues that matter the most to them, and that we implement meaningful solutions to our shared challenges.
Our government’s most recent Speech from the Throne outlined a number of key priorities that will guide your work as minister. Growing the economy and helping to create good jobs are fundamental to building more opportunity and security, now and in the future. That critical priority is supported by strategic investments in the talent and skills of our people, from childhood to retirement. It is supported through the building of modern infrastructure, transit and a seamless transportation network. It is supported by a dynamic business climate that thrives on innovation, creativity and partnerships to foster greater prosperity. And it is reflected across all of our government, in every area, and will extensively inform our programs and policies.
As we move forward with our plan to grow the economy and create jobs, we will do so through the lens of fiscal prudence. Our 2014 Budget reinforces our commitment to balancing the budget by 2017-18; it is essential that every area adheres to the program-spending objectives established in it. We will choose to invest wisely in initiatives that strengthen Ontario’s competitive advantage, create jobs and provide vital public services to our families. The President of the Treasury Board, collaborating with the Minister of Finance, will work closely with you and your fellow Cabinet members to ensure that our government meets its fiscal targets. The President of the Treasury Board will also lead the government’s efforts on accountability, openness and modernization as we implement new accountability measures across government.
Our government continues to deliver better access, better quality and better value for money for Ontario’s health system. As Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, you will lead the shift toward a sustainable, accountable system that provides co-ordinated quality care to people, when and where they need it. You will partner with administrators, health care providers and patients to achieve our shared commitment for a system that is there for generations.
In pursuit of our commitment, I ask that you keep in mind three key goals: people receiving the right care at the right time and the right place; an accountable, efficient and transparent system; and promoting healthier lifestyles for Ontarians through shared responsibility across government.
Delivering quality health services is a shared responsibility. You will foster collaboration across the system and make the necessary trade-offs to shift spending to where Ontario will get the best value for our health care dollars — which must be shared between our health system partners.
For example, through Health Links, we have worked with providers across the system to deliver quality care in appropriate settings, to our most complex patients, and you will continue to build on these successes. It will be a challenging transformation, but you and your health care partners will work together to protect and strengthen our health care system.
Your ministry’s specific priorities include:
Putting Patients at the Centre — the Right Care, Right Place, Right Time
- Ensuring that patients receive timely access to the most appropriate care in the most appropriate place — and that the needs of Ontario’s patients are at the centre of the system. This means care that is appropriately co-ordinated around the person receiving it, especially for those who are transitioning through and across systems and sectors.
- Championing the delivery of quality co-ordinated care to patients by making the best use of the skills and capacity of all our health care providers, hospitals, community clinics and organizations, long-term care homes and others. You will take the lead in ensuring that changes are informed by evidence — and that Ontario’s precious health care dollars improve quality of care and health outcomes for patients and families.
- Continuing to expand home and community care to ensure that people receive care as close to home as possible.
- Strengthening Ontario’s end-of-life care.
- Improving the capacity of the health care system by making the following investments: capital grants for major hospital expansion and redevelopment projects; community infrastructure to help shift care from hospitals to community settings; and home and community care services.
- Bringing forward a plan to ensure that every Ontarian who wants one has a primary care provider.
- Exploring options to improve wait times for referrals to specialist care.
- Continuing to ensure that our system has the health human resources it requires to deliver quality and efficient care. This includes exploring appropriate expanded scope of practice for providers and more models for collaborative care.
- Building on the 2014 Budget announcement to increase wages for Personal Support Workers (PSWs) in the home and community care sector, your goal is to develop a strategy to bring stability to this workforce and ensure we meet the need for PSWs in the long term.
- Collaborating with hospitals to jointly bring forward a plan to reduce or cap hospital parking rates for frequent visitors.
- Exploring ways to improve dementia supports, including new memory clinics.
- Continuing the pursuit of affordable drug access for patients in partnership with your federal, provincial and territorial colleagues. This will include a co-ordinated process for approving new and expensive drugs to minimize the wait for people who need these lifesaving medications.
Moving Forward on Accountability and Transparency
- We have succeeded in bringing down annual health spending growth from about six per cent in 2012 to about three per cent in 2013 – without compromising care. We did so in partnership with our health care administrators, institutions and providers. You will now work with them, as outlined below, to continue to drive accountability, transparency and quality throughout the system, while limiting expenditure growth.
- Continuing to change Ontario’s funding system for hospitals, Community Care Access Centres and long-term care homes so that it reflects the care that people need and receive. I also ask that you explore opportunities to optimize quality and value in community laboratories and the broader laboratory sector.
- Partnering with stakeholders to establish the patient ombudsman, who will resolve patient complaints and drive improvements in quality across the health care sectors.
- Continuing to work toward delivering excellent air ambulance service to patients that meets the highest standards of accountability and transparency.
- Pursuing changes to deliver more efficient and co-ordinated care to patients. This will include a review focusing on improving patient outcomes and value for money of Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), Community Care Access Centres and Public Health Units.
- Exploring options to further strengthen the framework for ensuring that the community sector and LHIN-funded health service providers are accountable for delivering quality patient care, including expanding the Excellent Care for All Act.
- Continuing to respect the negotiation process with the Ontario Medical Association, which enhances our respective abilities to improve productivity, deliver quality services to patients and ensure fiscal sustainability.
- Accelerating the adoption of new health technologies and innovations that demonstrate value and contribute to a more productive and sustainable health care system. You will do so by partnering with the ministers of Research and Innovation, and of Government and Consumer Services — and by continuing to work with the Ontario Health Innovation Council.
Collaborating on Shared Responsibilities across Government
- Striving for a system that delivers the best quality care to meet the needs of patients and that continues our success in lowering the growth in health care spending. With support from the Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (Long-Term Care and Wellness), you will continue our drive for a sustainable, accountable and quality health care system.
- Working with the Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs on initiatives that will especially impact seniors.
- Working with the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs on ongoing work related to Aboriginal health and wellness.
- Delivering on the next phase of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy to support the delivery of co-ordinated, timely and quality services. You will lead this work — partnering with those across government and across systems — to support healthier, resilient and inclusive communities.
- Working as part of Realizing Our Potential, Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy to expand access to health benefits for children in low-income families. You will do so in collaboration with the ministers Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, of Community and Social Services, of Children and Youth Services, and others. This will build on work underway to expand access to existing dental programs to all low-income children. I also ask that you explore long-term options for a sustainable program that provides health benefits to lower-income Ontarians.
- Helping develop a policy on community hubs that reflects the perspective of health and wellness. You will work on this in partnership with the ministers of Education and of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (Long-Term Care and Wellness), and others — and in consultation with stakeholders.
- Working with the Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (Long-Term Care and Wellness) to build a culture of health and community wellness, including supports and programs, to help people stay healthy. This will include encouraging Ontarians to play an active role in health care by participating in healthy living and wellness, and by taking advantage of programs that support these goals. You will work in collaboration with other ministers, including the ministers of Children and Youth Services, and of Education, and the Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs.
We have an ambitious agenda for the next four years. I know that, by working together in partnership, we can be successful. The above list of priority initiatives is not meant to be exhaustive, as there are many other responsibilities that you and your ministry will need to carry out. To that end, this mandate letter is to be used by your ministry to develop more detailed plans for implementation of the initiatives above, in addition to other initiatives not highlighted in this letter.
I ask that you continue to build on the strong relationships we have with the Ontario Public Service, the broader public sector, other levels of government, and the private, non-profit and voluntary sectors. We want to be the most open and transparent government in the country. We want to be a government that works for the people of this province — and with them. It is of the utmost importance that we lead responsibly, act with integrity, manage spending wisely and are accountable for every action we take.
I look forward to working together with you in building opportunity today, and securing the future for all Ontarians.
May 9th, 2013
Kathleen Wynne, Premier
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Re: Parking fees at Ontario hospitals
We write you today about the issue of parking fees at Ontario hospitals. We are concerned about the rising cost of parking at local hospitals. We believe that the hospitals should be not required to charge patients, their caregivers, visitors and staff ever-increasing amounts to meet budget targets. We think that this practice places an unacceptable burden on a captive market of the sick and aged populations of Ontario.
We have met with many representatives, listed below, to bring the issue to the attention of those who have an interest and those who have the power to make change.
We started three years ago, when we met with the local hospital CEO, Janet Beed, who believes that her facility is required by the HAPS prioritization schedule to maximize revenues from parking. Further, we have a letter from Kim Baker, CEO of the Central LHIN, declaring this to be a matter of hospital policy. We have been informed through the office of our MPP, Dr. Helena Jaczek, that the Ministry of Health has not mandated revenue generation from parking fees. There appears from these statements to be a real difference of opinion about whether or not parking fees must be a substantial revenue source for the hospitals.
We have prepared a web site at www.fairhospitalparkingcharges.org and refer you to it for background on our efforts.
We would like to understand how the parking charges became a revenue source for Ontario hospitals. Further, we believe the people of Ontario would like to be consulted on this matter of ethical treatment of our fellow citizens. A policy review may well be in order.
Although we have repeatedly requested an audience with the Minister of Health or a senior representative, we have not yet been successful.
We would like to meet with you or your senior representative to discuss this matter.
We look forward to an early reply to our request.
cc. Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP, Oak Ridges-Markham
- Janet Beed, CEO and Rob Bull, CFO, MSH
- Helena Jaczek, MPP
- Suzette Strong, MSH Foundation
- Jack Heath, Deputy Mayor, Markham
- Wayne Emmerson, Mayor, Whitchurch Stouffville
- Carolina Moretti, Ward 4 Councillor
Phone discussions with
- Janet Beed
- Dr. Brian Goldman
- Rick Jansen of OPSEU
Motions of support from the following communities:
- City of Markham
- Town of Whitchurch Stouffville
- Town of Uxbridge
- Town of Aurora
- Town of Newmarket
Media coverage includes:
- Local media interviews in Markham Economist and Sun
- The Stouffville Free Press
- CBC – White Coat, Black Art – November, 2012
- CMAJ – Editorial by Dr. R. Kale – January, 2012
Additional note: The Cities of Pickering and Vaughan and the Towns of Richmond Hill, East Gwillimbury and King City
have also passed supportive resolutions
Please refer to the new page here called “Where we are right now” for more information about our progress this year.
We hope to report soon that we have met with the Premier. If you have any advice about how to make this happen, please let us know!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have been busy approaching various municipalities in the York and Durham Regions concerning hospital parking charges. To date, there are positive resolutions from Markham, Oshawa, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Uxbridge, East Gwillimbury, Pickering, Richmond Hill and Vaughan Councils. Others in the area will be looking at the issue in coming meetings. We thank everyone for their support. For those that missed it, CBC’s Marketplace ran an episode on parking across Canada.
Phil Froats: High Hospital Parking Costs Add Insult to Injury
At my last chemo session a lady was talking about how she was paying $80 in cab fare just to get to each of her hospital visits. That gets one to thinking of the extra financial burdens that are placed on patients and their families and friends. Some of these like loss of wages and uninsured drug costs can be catastrophic.
Because they cannot afford to do otherwise, many people try to continue to work or go without expensive drugs and thereby jeopardize their recoveries. There are other, often less thought of expenses, that can really add up.
Take hospital parking. To illustrate this, I pulled togeiher daily maximum rates for the 14 cancer centres in Ontario and show them below sorted most to least expensive.
Toronto, Sunnybrook– $23.o0
Toronto, Princess Margaret — $19.oo
Newmarket — $17.oo
Oshawa — $16.oo
Kingston — $16.oo
Mississauga — $16.00
Hamilton — $15.oo
Barrie – $15.oo
Ottawa — $13.oo
London — $1o.5o
Kitchener-Waterloo — $1o.oo
Thunder Bay– $7.oo
Windsor — $3.oo
The average is $13.32 per day with Sunnybrook topping the list at an astronomical, just plain mean, $23 and Windsor at the bottom with a much more kindly $3. Over a course of treatments this really adds up. Full parking charges, twice a week for six weeks can cost you up to $276 at Sunnybrook on top of the cost of getting your car to the hospital. ln addition, before treatment started, you probably went to the bank machine a few times to pay for parking while getting diagnostic scans, physician appointments, follow ups, etc. lf you are in for a few overnights, I would imagine the higher the rates, the less visitors want to come.
As you can see the higher rates tend to be in the Toronto GTA and larger cities. Many centres will give you directions on how to get there via public transit which does of course avoid the parking charges. There are at least two very serious public transit issues with cancer patients. First treatment often knocks down our immune systems making us highly susceptible to contagious diseases. You have a much larger chance of catching a cold or the flu by adding a trip on a bus or subway io your routine than being in your car.
Quick Poll – Do you think charging for parking at hospitals is wrong?
i .) Absolutely – it’s taking advantage of emotional people
ii) Not at all – they need to make money too
iii) Sometimes – there should be dedicated spaces for real emergencies
iv)l I don’t have an opinion either way
Second, treatment makes us physically weaker so adding the public transit trip where we could easily wind up standing the whole way can be very draining. A good example is the Toronto subway which can be a noxious place for anyone with physical disabilities. Only 31 of the 69 stops have elevators. Most have escalators but often they only go one way if they are working at all. One trip to Sherbourne station when you have to walk down several long flights of stairs with a wind tunnel effect that wants to take a CFL football player off his feet will demonstrate the the problems quite nicely.
There is another alternative in many areas. The Cancer Society will provide free transportation to and from the centre for the course of your treatments. My experience has shown that it has its flaws but is generally a good system and a donation to the Society will usually cost you a lot less than being gouged by some of the hospital parking rates.
January 2013 Update
Since our last post, there have been some new developments. Along with Markham, the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville and the City of Oshawa have all passed resolutions asking the Province to reduce and control parking charges at Ontario Hospitals.
CTV ran a news report on Friday, December 28th regarding the issue. They referred to Oshawa councilor Doug Sanders and his efforts to successfully get the Oshawa Council to pass a resolution to be forwarded to the Provincial Government. In that report, the charges at various hospitals were referred to. For those with Internet access you may watch the clip at CTVNews.com.
Our small group continues to meet and work towards getting the word out. For all that follow this issue, your support is appreciated. At present, we do not actively work with Facebook or Twitter, so if you would like to expand our audience using these forms of social media we would appreciate it.
There has been some recognition of our cause by members of the opposition parties in the Provincial Government. For this we appreciate their involvement. We are still working to encourage the party in power to respond to the issue in a way that doesn’t just state the status quo.
We’ll keep you informed.