Fedeli stands firm despite union criticism – Ontario News

Fedeli stands firm despite union criticism – Ontario News

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is standing by his assertion that escalating hydro costs are causing serious problems for Ontario’s hospitals.

But, at the same time, he admits provincial hydro costs – the highest in North America – are not solely to blame.

“There is no question that (the province) freezing the funding envelope is severely impacting hospitals,” Fedeli said Thursday afternoon.

“Rising hydro costs are indeed a factor.”

Fedeli was responding to a news release issued by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions which said it was unfair of opposition MPPs “to blame significant care and staffing cuts at our hospitals on hydro rates.

“To suggest that the root of our community hospitals’ yearly budget deficits and the staff, bed and care cuts that follow, is high hydro costs is to mislead the public,” OCHU president Michael Hurley said in the release.

“Ontario’s hospitals have endured eight years of real budget cuts. Hospitals are being funded this year again by significantly less than the increase in their real costs. This is their real problem, one that can’t be solved by tweaking hydro costs.”

Provincial funding for hospitals has fallen $4.5 billion behind hospital funding in other provinces. The Ontario Hospital Association has asked the province to increase funding in 2017 by 4.9 per cent.

The OCHU is calling for at least a five per cent funding increase for hospitals this year.

Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office estimates health care needs about a 5.3 per cent annual increase to meet basic cost pressures. Health care costs are driven higher than consumer inflation by ageing, population…

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