Skip to main content

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews is shown on Feb. 11, 2013.

PETER POWER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Ontarians who have a bad brush with the health-care system will soon be able to take their complaints to a new patient advocate.

Health Minister Deb Matthews promised on Monday that her government will establish a provincewide, third-party office to which patients can appeal when they are not satisfied with their treatment at hospitals and other health facilities.

"What we're talking about is a health-focused patient advocate," Ms. Matthews told reporters after a speech to the Empire Club of Canada. "I get letters as minister from people who aren't happy with the care they've received. I think it's really important to turn those complaints into ways to improve quality."

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Matthews could not say when the office would open or what powers it would wield, but she made no mention of putting it under Ombudsman André Marin, who for years has pushed to investigate hospitals and long-term-care homes.

Ontario's ombudsman is the only one in the country whose scope does not include hospitals.

Mr. Marin slammed the proposal in an interview after the speech, saying a patient advocate would not be "independent and impartial."

"It's a voice for people who feel hard done by the system," Mr. Marin said. "So are you getting the value for the investment? In most cases, I would say no."

The Ontario NDP, which has also advocated to extend the ombudsman's scope, said a patient advocate falls short of the province's needs.

"We are not opposed to having a patient advocate with powers yet to be defined," said France Gelinas, the NDP's health critic. "But it will never replace the ombudsman."

The minister also hinted a pay increases for personal support workers, who make a minimum of $12.50 an hour.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Matthews said it hard to combat turnover when workers can earn more at Tim Hortons.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.