With negotiations stalled between the provincial government and Ontario Association of Optometrists, city officials are asking Premier Doug Ford, Sault MPP Ross Romano and provincial health minister Christine Elliott to return to the bargaining table.
"Routine eye care is critical in early detection of eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, and the health of eyes is critical to overall health and quality of life," says a resolution approved by City Council this week.
"Payments from OHIP have only increased nine per cent over the last 30 years, which has not come close to matching inflation of costs, which include rent, staff, utilities, equipment, taxes and supplies," says the resolution, drafted by Ward 5 Coun. Matthew Scott and his Ward 1 counterpart Sandra Hollingsworth.
"Optometrists, when they do OHIP [Ontario Health Insurance Plan] coverage services, get about $45 for an appointment that costs them about $80," Scott told Monday's council meeting.
"I myself have been impacted by this work action as I've been trying to get my son in for his follow-up appointment and they will not take him," Scott said.
"The provincial government’s refusal to formally negotiate with optometrists for more than 30 years has forced optometrists to absorb approximately $173 million annually in the cost to deliver eye care to Ontarians," says the council-approved resolution.
The city wants the province to cover at least the cost of delivery of eye-care services.
Some other items of interest from this week's City Council meeting:
- Mayor Christian Provenzano has been authorized by City Council to write to Premier Doug Ford, encouraging him to enter good-faith negotiations to resolve the ongoing annuities litigation with the Robinson-Huron leadership
- the new access road to the P-Patch will be named Passchendaele Way
- Nicholas Rosset from Savoy's Jewellers has been appointed to the Downtown Association's board of management from Sept, 27, 2021 to Nov. 14, 2022
- final approval was given to the downtown plaza project, with completion of the $8.4 million project set for late fall of 2022 or spring of 2023