As privatization creeps further into Canada’s health system it’s fair to ask whether decisions are being made based on private profit or health care needs?
As contract health providers become multinational, the interests of Canadian patients may also take a back seat to corporate priorities in other countries.
Extendicare is a Markham-based for-profit company that operates on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. About 37 per cent of its revenue comes from the company’s operations in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. CEO Timothy Lukenda lives in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, not far from the company’s U.S. headquarters in Milwaukee. His father is a well-known dentist in the Sault and owns the junior hockey franchise in that city. Prior to getting the top job at Extendicare, Lukenda was an investment banker.
Extendicare’s business involves assisted living centers, nursing homes, health technology services, outpatient therapy and home health care. Overall they have 35,000 employees, making them one of the largest private long-term care providers in North America.
Extendicare’s home care subsidiary, ParaMed Home Health Care, is presently involved in a bitter strike in Renfrew County, northwest of Ottawa.
It’s fair to ask whether the hard-line ParaMed is taking at the bargaining table is motivated by priorities on the other side of the border?