Niagara Ontario NDP Member Urges Ford Government to Address ‘Eye Care Crisis’

An “Urgent Open Letter from Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott

Posted September 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Dear Premier Ford and Minister Elliott:

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Many people already dealing with this ongoing pandemic and now having eye care services under OHIP stopped is really the last straw.

The Ontario Association of Optometrists says eye doctors are the lowest paid in the country and that OHIP has underfunded eye exams for decades.

My office has stacks of petitions from area optometrists and their patients demanding your government resolve this crisis in eye care coverage. They’re not even asking to make money at it. They are just saying, “Let’s negotiate something that covers our costs.”

With these vital services withdrawn, patients are not be able to pay for eye exams even if they want to since there is a law that prohibits patients from paying for a service that is covered by OHIP.

Laurel Legault of Welland is appalled this is happening at the expense of her one-year-old son Khatchiar who was stung by a bee. 

Khatchiar, the one-year-old son of Laurel Legault in Welland, Ontario. Photo courtesy of constituency office of Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

She told me in an email: “He was unable to see an eye doctor due to the government refusing to settle with the optometrists.

Thankfully, his pediatrician saw him, but he needs to be evaluated by an eye doctor. He cannot tell me if his vision is impaired – he needs an experienced professional to assess him.

The optometrists have helped the public to their own detriment. Now there is nothing left – now my baby suffers. How is that right?”

I can truthfully say that optometrists in Niagara would much rather be taking care of their patients than be involved in this job action. However, in its current state, how your government funds eye care is no longer sustainable.

This pandemic has turned our lives upside down and we really do not need our eye care now put in jeopardy. This is targeting children and seniors.

Please Premier and Minister Elliott, get back to serious discussions with our optometrists. Recall the Legislature and have an emergency debate on this eye care crisis only your government can resolve.

Sincerely, Jeff Burch, MPP, Niagara, Ontario

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders


One response to “Niagara Ontario NDP Member Urges Ford Government to Address ‘Eye Care Crisis’

  1. Kudos to Jeff Burch for raising this important dare I say, vital issue. (This issue has been competely disregarded by my PC MPP, Sam Oosterhoff. Big surprise! I got a boilerplate response saying how glad he was to be contacted.) Do the cons not realize this is going to result in long backlogs of necessary cataract surgeries? Another example of how little they really care. At the very least, they should be allowing those with private insurance or a willingness to pay out of pocket for both children and seniors to get the care they need!


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