Ontario Liberals Call on Auditor General to Conduct a Value-for-Money Audit of Temporary Nursing Agencies

QUEEN’S PARK – Today, Bonnie Crombie, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, announced that Dr. Adil Shamji, MPP for Don Valley East and Ontario Liberal Critic for Health, has requested the Auditor General undertake a value-for-money audit into Doug Ford’s privatization of healthcare through the use of temporary nursing agencies.

“We are seeing record emergency room closures, some of the worst wait times in our province’s history and a deliberate refusal by this government to adequately fund our hospitals,” said Crombie.

“Doug Ford is allowing corporate greed to erode our healthcare system at the same time that his indifference, inaction and incompetence have made it more vulnerable than ever before,” said MPP Shamji. “We need answers about why two nurses working the same shift are separated by two to three times the amount of pay, and why public hospitals are being pushed towards financial ruin.”

Emergency departments and hospitals are facing record pressure as they absorb blows from underfunding and mismanagement by the Ford government. A recent Ontario Health report revealed some of the worst emergency department metrics in our province’s history. Hospitals are running deficits, with some taking high-interest loans from financial institutions just to survive. Healthcare workers are being driven out of their professions, yet Doug Ford and Sylvia Jones refuse to act.

“In a series of recent Auditor General reports that touched on emergency departments, northern hospitals, and long-term care, there were preliminary observations of the problematic nature of temporary nursing agencies,” added MPP Shamji. “A value-for-money audit dedicated to temporary staffing agencies will reveal the full scope of the financial exploitation and catastrophe that Doug Ford is enabling.”

Many sources have reported that temporary staffing agencies engage in a variety of predatory and exploitative practices such as price gouging, dynamic surge pricing, unfair contractual obligations, discriminatory premiums, and undeclared conflicts-of-interest. It is estimated that cash-strapped hospitals are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds without any protection against these practices.

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