Lysyk noted that, in the last 5 years, 2 of the province’s 4 psychiatric hospitals have slipped beneath 70 per cent full-time staffing — the minimum recommended to achieve the best results.
Toronto (05 Dec. 2016) — On November 30, the latest report from Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk was released,showing, once again, that the provincial Liberal government’s “core policy” is failing Ontarians, says the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).
Ministry lenient with contractors who perform poorly, says Lysyk
“Everyone looking at the Auditor’s report can see that privatization is failing utterly to deliver good value for money,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “Look no further than the privatization of oversight over construction projects that has given private contractors the keys to the treasury."
“Construction contractors used to work under the watchful eyes of government inspectors,” said Thomas. “But we’ve seen that oversight diminish and virtually disappear, particularly when it comes to major capital projects. The result is shoddy work and outright cheating by companies who know that (to quote the Auditor) ‘the ministry is lenient with contractors who perform poorly.’”
Ontario government dependent on overpriced consultants, each costing $40,000 extra
Lysyk also chastised the Liberals for their reliance on overpriced IT consultants, underscoring that in the last 2 years, 90 per cent of ministry requests for IT staff have been filled by consultants.
“On average, a consultant costs $40,000 more than a full-time government IT employee,” noted Thomas. “If the government hired just 10 full-time IT employees, we’d have almost half a million extra dollars for badly needed public services.”
Money used for consultants would be better used for mental health services
The Auditor General pointed to mental health services as another area where more full-time, permanent staff are urgently required. She noted that, in the last 5 years, 2 of the province’s 4 psychiatric hospitals have slipped beneath 70 per cent full-time staffing — the minimum recommended to achieve the best results.
“The money saved by axing pricey consultants could be put to excellent use in mental health care,” said Thomas. “Privatization is robbing some of the most vulnerable in the province of the care they need. Certain activities, like group therapy, can’t be offered for lack of full-time staff."
Privatization of mental health services fails patients and staff
“And while on the subject of mental health, the Auditor points out that Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene — another privatization fiasco — has failed both patients and staff, with 90 deficiencies, 800 safety hazards, and several attacks and injuries reported since it opened just 2 years ago."
“Lysyk’s report is the latest to expose the waste of money and decay in service when public services are delivered by the private sector. How many more are needed before the Liberals pay attention?," said Thomas.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE