TORONTO, Oct. 7 /CNW/ - The findings by the Auditor General that greater public oversight would have prevented the spending scandal at eHealth was strongly embraced by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
"Let's hope the Premier and his government learned a valuable lesson today: the more you hand over control of a vital public service like health care to the private sector, the more costs are going to skyrocket at the expense of the tax-paying public," said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
"We couldn't agree more with Auditor General McCarter. The private consultants behind the eHealth spending scandal weren't able to contain themselves from pinching the public purse for every last dime. That simply wouldn't happen under a genuine public system with built-in checks, oversight and accountability."
In his report, the Auditor General specifically pointed to the fact that "there was a heavy, and in some cases almost total, reliance on (private) consultants. By 2008, the Ministry's eHealth Program Branch had fewer than 30 full-time employees, but was engaging more than 300 consultants ..."
Thomas said watching the eHealth scandal unfold was like reading a familiar old story.
He cited the Auditor's report from 2008 which revealed the privatization of the William Osler Hospital in Brampton cost almost $500 million more than had Ontario used traditional public procurement and financing.
"What nobody in government seems to understand is that squandering this sort of money means that vital revenue is not available to keep hospitals open and to hire the professional health care workers we desperately need."
Last month a London, Ontario hospital vice-president resigned over a similar scandal as more than $3 million in untendered contracts went to a former associate.
For further information: For further information: Greg Hamara, OPSEU Communications, (647) 238-9933 cell