Ontario Votes 2022: Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford on our issues

May 17, 2022
Ontario Progressive Conservative party interview.
Looking ahead to June’s provincial election, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives weigh in on Federal Retirees’ priorities. credit: Bruce Reeve

Doug Ford will invest $5 billion to bolster long-term care and another $1 billion to strengthen home care across the province.

Editor’s note: Leader Doug Ford didn’t agree to an interview with Federal Retirees, but his team agreed to supply answers to our questions. However, instead of answering the questions listed below, they sent a single text. We parsed the sections that related to our questions. Where you see “no answer given,” it’s because nothing in the text corresponded to the questions. We gave the party several opportunities to re-address those remaining questions, with no response.

If you’d like answers from your Progressive Conservative candidate, be sure to contact your candidates — we’ve made it easy.


Long-term care

Mr. Premier, the pandemic exposed the situation in some long-term care homes. What have you done to improve conditions for seniors in LTC homes?

On long-term care, the fact is the [previous Liberal government] only built 611 new beds between 2011 and 2018. Contrast that with our PC government. In just four short years, we are making good on our commitment to build 30,000 much-needed net new long-term care beds by 2028 with 31,705 new and 28,648 upgraded beds in development across the province.

Are binding national standards for LTC homes important? What would make you support them?

In fall 2021, the Doug Ford and Ontario PC government introduced and passed new legislation that will help improve the well-being of residents in long-term care and retirement homes by ensuring they get the care they deserve. This plan is built on three pillars: staffing and care; accountability, enforcement and transparency; and building modern, safe, comfortable homes for seniors. We are investing nearly $5 billion to hire more than 27,000 long-term care staff over four years and making sure residents receive on average four hours of direct care per day.

If not national standards, will you develop provincial standards that protect LTC residents?

No answer given.

Why allow more private for-profit LTC companies? If some LTC homes are to be private, should they be better regulated?

No answer given.

Seniors and health care

What other new funding for health care are you committed to?

After years of frozen hospital budgets by the [previous Liberal government], Ontario’s health-care system was stretched to a breaking point and in crisis well before the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why our government has invested billions to expand health-care capacity and support and recruit more front-line health-care workers.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have added 3,100 new hospital beds and 8,600 health-care workers. But we know there’s still more work to do to fix years of inaction by Liberal governments. Through our $40 billion hospital capital plan, the Ontario PCs [and I] are supporting more than 50 hospital projects and adding 3,000 new beds over 10 years. We are also providing Ontario nurses with a retention bonus of up to $5,000 and making the wage increase for more than 158,000 personal support workers permanent.

How will your government address surgical and diagnostic procedure backlogs?

Last year, we invested more than $300 million to deliver 67,000 additional surgeries and procedures as well as up to 135,000 more diagnostic imaging hours to address the surgical wait times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, how will you reduce wait times for cataract surgery from the current 182 days? 

No answer given.

What lessons did your government learn from the pandemic?

No answer given.

How will your government support Ontarians to age in place?

We aren’t just acting on long-term care, but also home care. That’s why we are investing an additional $1 billion over the next three years to expand home care. In fact, Home Care Ontario stated that “these investments make Ontario a leader in prioritizing home care” and called it a “watershed moment.” While the [previous Liberal government] and Andrea Horwath talk about long-term care and home care, the Ontario PCs are getting it done.

Seniors helped build our province. This is why the Ontario PCs are also proposing a new Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit. This will help seniors and their families with home care medical expenses, including attendant care, assistive breathing devices, hearing aids and walking aids. This tax credit builds on our Seniors Home Safety Tax Credit, which helps cover the costs for stairlifts, handrails and other renovations to help make homes safe and accessible.

Last fall, there was a dispute between the government and optometrists. How will you ensure Ontarians can access eye care?

We know optometrists have been long neglected by previous governments that failed to negotiate a fair and sustainable agreement. Our goal from the start has been to reach an agreement to build a long-term, sustainable funding relationship with Ontario’s optometrists that ensures patients can continue to receive the care they need.

In 2019, your government said it would announce a “government-wide seniors strategy” in the fall. Will your government commit to a provincial seniors strategy that encourages age-positive well-being and age-friendly communities? If so, when?

No answer given.

Will you appoint an independent seniors’ advocate, as other parties have promised to do?

No answer given.

Climate change

How will your government help Canada make good on its emission reduction targets?

Regarding climate change, under [my] leadership, Ontario is becoming a leader in the production of hybrid and electric vehicle production. This includes investments in Honda, General Motors and Ford to retool their plants for manufacturing electric vehicles and securing Ontario’s first electric vehicle battery plant with the largest investment in Canada’s history. On top of that, we partnered with ArcelorMittal Dofasco on clean steel to help meet the global demand for low-carbon auto production. This investment is equivalent to taking one million cars off the road. Ontario is third in the country in emissions reductions, only behind Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Through investments like these, Ontario is on track to meet its climate targets without imposing a carbon tax that makes life more expensive for seniors.


Will you support Pharmacare, which the federal government has said requires provincial consensus?

The Ontario PC team are getting it done by making sure Ontario’s seniors have access to the quality dental care and prescription medications they need. One of the first actions we took when elected in 2018 was providing free routine dental care for approximately 100,000 low-income seniors across the province. In 2021, we invested an additional $17 million to give 35,000 more seniors access to dental services. We’ve also given more low-income seniors access to the medication they need with no annual deductible and a reduced co-payment for each prescription. This year alone, the Ontario PC government invested over $7 billion in the Ontario Drug Benefit program.

Will you continue to cap the Ontario Guaranteed Income System benefit rates at $83 a month?

No answer given.