September 10 Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, tweeted that Health Minister Deb Matthews had just announced to a nursing meeting that the moratorium on competitive bidding in home care would be made permanent. No formal confirmation of this announcement has been made by the Ministry of Health.
No services competition has successfully taken place since 2004 when then Health Minister George Smitherman announced the appointment of Elinor Caplan to conduct a review into the competitive bidding process.
The Caplan review followed months of campaigning in the Niagara region after the Victorian Order of Nurses had lost the local home care nursing contract during its centenary in the community. OPSEU-represented VON members had met with MPPs up and down the Niagara peninsula to point out problems with the competition.
The union complained that the bidding process had been tainted by the then Niagara CCAC administrator who told at least one patient in advance of the competition that VON would not be a successful bidder.