The Ontario government has been less than transparent when it comes to the future of its public medical laboratories.
A recent Deloitte Review of Ontario’s public lab system has been the subject of much discussion in the lab world. We’ve been told by those who have seen it that it sets the stage for the next phase of privatization within the sector. Not content to take volumes generated by community-based health care providers, the big laboratory companies are now seeking to siphon off more of the hospital work. One laboratory company – Lifelabs – represents about 70 per cent of all community lab work in the province.
Ontario is very selective about who it will let see the Deloitte report contrary to Premier Kathleen Wynne’s heartfelt election promises to be more transparent.
As the largest representative of laboratory professionals in the province, OPSEU sought the Deloitte report through a freedom of information access request earlier this year. We were told that the government had the right to withhold the report given “advice to government” was exempt from such requests. Early on in the process we were promised that a redacted version would be available pending an opportunity by an undisclosed third party to intervene. Months later we are still waiting.
Given the policy discussion the Deloitte report is generating behind closed doors, it’s time to let the public in. This is a critical piece of the health system that is being largely discussed in secret.