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Sylvia Jones, Ontario Health Minister, February 21, 2024, Queen's Park screen shot

Opposition seeks firing of health minister

By Randy Thoms May 13, 2024 | 3:45 PM

Premier Doug Ford is dismissing calls that he fire his Health Minister

The opposition wants Sylvia Jones dismissed after the Ministry of Health suggested there is no concern with the recruitment and retention of physicians.

The Ministry asserts in a brief submitted during arbitration with the Ontario Medical Association.

“The average physician income adjustments compared favourably with other settlements where retention and recruitment is not a major concern,” the brief states. “In order to make the comparisons to other settlements in the relevant time period, physician income is taken from the base year of 2019/2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

NDP leader Marit Stiles says she was shocked by the comments.

At Queen’s Park, she listed several communities where tens of thousands of people are without access to a family physician and called the Ministry’s comments insensitive.

“People are showing up in our emergency rooms when they’re open, sicker than ever before this government. If they are recruiting any physicians, we can’t keep them. They are leaving faster than we can recruit them,” says Stiles.

“The Minister of Health said last week this is not a major concern for her government. I want to hear from the premier himselfI want to hear him speak to this. Do you stand by your comments?”

Premier Doug Ford sidestepped the question by outlining the measures his government has taken to improve access.

“We have put in over three, over $300 million in investment for, for not only pediatric care but $546 million for 600,000 Ontarians to match them up with primary care,” says Ford. “But that’s not all we did. We’re making sure we’re building medical universities that again, neither of your parties have ever built in 30 years.”

Jones was not in the legislature.

She was scheduled to make an announcement in Toronto this morning only to have it cancelled late Sunday night.