The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Government reports on Ontario's public drug program missing for 5 years: Tories

  • Print

TORONTO - Ontario's Health Ministry took another hit Thursday when the Progressive Conservatives demanded to know why annual reports on the province's public drug plans have gone missing for five years.

The government is required by law to issue a report each year on the $4.4 billion dollars it spends on the plans, but the most recent one available on the ministry's website is from 2007-2008.

Tory Frank Klees cornered Health Minister Deb Matthews during question period, asking why the government hasn't done its job and made the information public.

"She doesn't even know that that report has been missing for five years," Klees said in the legislature. "That's why our health-care system is in the mess that it's in."

Matthews didn't answer Klees' question in the legislature, but told reporters later that she didn't know that the reports hadn't been tabled for five years.

"I am going to get to the bottom of it," she said.

A 26-page report covering the years 2008 to 2012 was tabled a few hours later in the legislature and was later posted on the health ministry's website.

But Klees said the missing reports are yet another example of the lack of oversight by the governing Liberals, who are already feeling the heat over diluted chemotherapy drugs and the fiascos at Ontario's Ornge air ambulance service and the eHealth electronic medical records agency.

"For the minister to be staring back across the way like a deer in headlights, not knowing what I'm talking about when I asked this question? Something's wrong here," he said.

If the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care was a corporation, the CEO would be fired, he said.

"There is a vacuum of leadership here and there's an incompetence on the part of the leaders," Klees said.

The reports allowed the public to see what prescription drugs are covered by the province, how much money the government spends in different programs, and other indicators, said NDP health critic France Gelinas.

There's a "culture of secrecy" in Ontario's health-care system that's protecting the government, not the public, she said.

"The core mandate of the Ministry of Health is to oversee the health-care system," Gelinas said.

"Right now, they are failing in their core mandate on many, many fronts."

Zita Astravas, a spokeswoman for Matthews, said the money spent on the Ontario Drug Benefit Program — accounting for about 10 per cent of the total health-care budget — is published annually in the government's financial statements.

According to the ministry, the ODBP was established in 2007 to make funding decisions, negotiate agreements with drug manufacturers and determine which drugs should be covered by the province.

Ontario's publicly funded drug programs — including those for seniors and welfare recipients — account for nearly 43 per cent of spending on prescription drugs in the province, it said.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Theresa Oswald announces bid for NDP leadership

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A squirrel enjoys the morning sunshine next to the duck pond in Assiniboine Park Wednesday– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Now that former cabinet minister Theresa Oswald has entered the NDP leadership race, do you believe the "gang of five" rebel ministers were right to publicly criticize Premier Greg Selinger's leadership?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google