Ontario health care ‘super agency’ would allow more privatization, confidential draft bill shows


A confidential draft bill from Premier Doug Ford’s government would establish a health “super agency” to create “efficiencies” in the system and empower cabinet to privatize more services and sell medical data, according to a leaked copy.

The new “super agency” to oversee health care was first revealed by the Star on Jan. 17.

The leaked version of the Health System Efficiency Act 2019, obtained by the New Democrats and revealed Thursday, states the super agency — yet to be named — would implement the new Progressive Conservative government’s health system strategies, hinted at in a new report released Thursday from Ford’s health care czar Dr. Rueben Devlin.

Devlin said the complex health-care system is too “difficult” for patients to navigate, pointing to the need to make treatment paths more efficient and, for example, take better care of people with chronic diseases like diabetes.

Under the draft bill, the super agency would have the powers to “designate” providers of integrated care providing a mix of at least two of the following: hospital care, primary care, mental health, addictions, home care, long-term care, and palliative care.

The bill would also give Health Minister Christine Elliott the power to “consider whether to adjust the funding (of the super agency) to take into account a portion of the savings from efficiencies that the super agency generated in the previous fiscal year and that the super agency proposes to spend on patient care in subsequent fiscal years.”

A source told the Star an official announcement on the super agency, which the legislation says will have a 15-member board of directors, is expected in late February.

More to come


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London Police Services Board releases draft sex assault policy, requests public feedback – London


Roughly nine months after first launching consultations, the London Police Services Board is out with a new draft sexual assault policy (below).

The overhaul was launched in the wake of media reports outlining the number of complaints that police deemed unfounded.

Victim featured in ‘unfounded’ report responds to London Police apology

Dr. AnnaLise Trudell with Anova, a shelter and support centre for survivors of abuse and sexual violence, believes the policy is a step in the right direction.

“It kind of brings a few different pieces together, so one is the advocate review, which we’re already doing, which is where every sexual assault case reported to the police gets reviewed by community members, and there’s lots of learning that’s been happening in that space within the last year,” said Trudell.

“The other is sort of empowering the survivor a lot more around guiding the process, so he or she can disclose the name of the accused, and the chief will sort of work as much as possible to make that be something that they can do.”

New draft policy for sex-assault investigations expected by end of 2018: London police board

The policy also calls for increased training for police.

Trudell notes that the policy has some blind spots.

“Stats Canada came out with a report a few months ago that said that reports to the police declined since 2004 by 20 per cent,” she said.

“We know that people are actually going to the police less and a lot of reasons as to why that is, and some of that might be around confidence and knowing that the system is not going to be great for them, so this type of policy helps get at that.”

The public is asked to provide feedback on the draft policy by Dec. 10 via email to lpsb@londonpolice.ca or the board says arrangements can also be made to speak directly to members of the board’s sub-committee on community relations.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Ottawa releases draft tender on purchase of new fighter jets


The effort to replace the air force’s aging fleet of CF-18 fighters took a small step forward Monday when Public Services and Procurement Canada released a draft tender and asked for feedback from the makers of new jets.

There are five companies in the running: France’s Dassault Aviation; Saab of Sweden; Airbus Defence and Space out of Britain; and Boeing and Lockheed Martin in the U.S.

The manufacturers will have about eight weeks to comment on various aspects of the proposed tender before the government finalizes the document.

A full-fledged request for proposals is not expected to be released until the new year.

The department said input from the manufacturers « is critical to the overall success of this procurement and for selecting the right fighter aircraft to meet Canada’s needs. »

A slow process

It has been almost a year since Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan formally « launched » competition to replace the CF-18s, which were originally purchased in the 1980s but have received significant upgrades in the decades since.

At the same time, Sajjan also announced the federal government would buy used Australian F-18s of the same vintage as Canada’s current fighter fleet.

That purchase is meant to serve as a stopgap to ensure the air force can meet its NATO and NORAD commitments at the same time.

The Liberal government is looking to buy 88 new jets, but the first ones aren’t likely to arrive until the mid-2020s.

The competition among manufacturers for Canada’s business is expected to be fierce.

Lockheed Martin will pitch its F-35 stealth fighter, which the former Conservative government was prepared to buy until the auditor general criticized both Public Works and National Defence in 2012. The AG said, among other things, that the departments had not done enough homework to justify the multi-billion-dollar purchase.

Boeing is in line to offer the Super Hornet — a larger, more advanced version of the F-18 — but the Chicago, IL.-based company and the Liberal government traded blows last year in a dispute over passenger jets and Bombardier.

The Liberals initially had planned to buy Super Hornets as a stopgap instead of the Australian fighters, but cancelled the purchase because of the dispute.

Advantage: Europe?

Airbus plans to offer its Eurofighter Typhoon. Saab will pitch the latest version of its Gripen, while Dassault has the Rafale.

The European aircraft-makers all privately expressed optimism about the competition last spring at an Ottawa defence industry trade show.

For years, Canada has been seen as favouring U.S. manufacturers because of what the military called « interoperability issues. »

But recent trade disputes and political tensions between Ottawa and Washington have given contractors outside of North America a morale boost.


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