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CHS asks questions of all parties in the Ontario election

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During the election campaign the Canadian Hearing Society surveyed all the political parties about the following issues. CHS asked five questions. Here are their responses. As of June 5, CHS received responses to the questions from the NDP, the Green Party and the Ontario Liberals, as well as a letter from the PC party. 

Letters: Read the letters from the Ontario PC, Green Party of Ontario, Ontario Liberals and Ontario NDP.

Fact Sheet:  Read the fact sheet on Accessible Election Guidelines.

1.Adding a referral for hearing testing as part of annual doctors’ examination for aging adults: Do you and your party support a standardized practice of physicians adding a referral for hearing testing as part of their annual health examination for aging adults in order to ensure it is not overlooked?

  • Liberal: Ontario Liberals are committed to providing all Ontarians with access to the right care, at the right time and in the right place. As our population ages, our health care system must adapt to the different needs of Ontarians. We agree that hearing loss is a chronic condition that government and its partners must pay more attention to, whether it’s prevention, diagnosis or management.  If returned to government, we commit to working with all partners, including the Canadian Hearing Society, physicians and other front-line health care providers to find the most appropriate way to prevent and manage hearing loss for aging adults. This could include a referral for hearing testing for aging adults.
  • PC: Letter response. See above. 
  • NDP: While OHIP already covers diagnositic hearing tests carried out by physicians, the Ontario NDP supports efforts to better integrate preventative care like hearing tests in our public health care system. We endorse efforts to develop clinical practice guidelines that support primary care providers in delivering preventive health care.
  • Green Party:  Yes, we support the practice of adding a referral for hearing testing as part of annual health examinations for aging adults. The Green Party recognizes the importance of investments that will improve the care that is available to seniors. 

2.Ensuring prevention programs are in schools to educate youth on the importance of protecting their hearing: Do you and your party support ensuring there are prevention programs in schools to educate youth on the importance of protecting their hearing?

  • Liberal: The first pillar of our Action Plan for Health Care is Keeping Ontario Healthy. We know that health promotion and illness prevention are essential to building a sustainable health care system for generations to come. The Wynne government has continued to support testing for hearing loss in babies, linking families who are affected by hearing loss to supports within the community, many of which are supported by the Canadian Hearing Society.  We know, too, that one’s hearing must be protected. For those who are not born with hearing loss, it is a faculty that must be protected. We will work with the Canadian Hearing Society, our public health units, and others to help deliver the message within schools and other appropriate venues on the ways to protect one’s hearing.
  • PC: Letter response. See above. 
  • NDP: Yes, The Ontario NDP supports and will collaborate with advocates like the CHS VOICE for Hearing Children, and the Ontario Association for the Deaf about ways to provide an inclusive and barrier-free learning environment for Deaf and hard of hearing students and to raise awareness about the importance of protecting hearing.
  • Green Party:  Yes. We are committed to making health promotion that illness prevention a top priority and understand the importance of educating youth on the importance of protecting their hearing

3.Improving the management of hearing loss to reduce the impact on provincial health and social support systems: Will you and your party work to improve the management of hearing loss to reduce the impact on provincial health and social support systems?

  • Liberal: Ontario Liberals are committed to keeping Ontario healthy, including helping them manage the effects of hearing loss. Several Local Health Integration Networks fund hearing clinics in different areas of the province to diagnose and help manage hearing loss in Ontarians.  Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program plays an important role in this regard. If given another mandate to govern, Ontario Liberals would continue to maintain the integrity of the Assistive Devices Program and the service it offers to those who suffer from hearing loss.  Our 2014 Budget built on this commitment and proposed creating a low-income health benefit for children, which would provide coverage for all assistive devices, among other benefits.  We would remain focused on building these programs which help Ontarians manage hearing loss.
  • PC: Letter response. See above. 
  • NDP:  Yes. Ontario NDP is committed to addressing Ontario’s crisis in mental health and addictions, including making sure those services are available to people who are hearing impaired.
  • Green Party:   The Green Party has long been aware that our healthcare system not only works for today but is sustainable for the next generation. We would support policies that improve the management of hearing loss and reduce the impact on provincial health and social support systems.

4.Funding for the expansion of the Canadian Hearing Society’s CONNECT mental health program: Do you and your party support funding for the expansion of the Canadian Hearing Society’s CONNECT mental health and addictions program?

  • Liberal: Ontario Liberals are committed to strong, inclusive, and accessible care for those suffering from mental health and addiction challenges. In 2011, our government introduced Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario’s 10-year Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. We know that our health care services must adapt to the diversity of Ontario’s population, including those who suffer from hearing loss. We also know that without the appropriate support services, those who suffer from hearing loss can also develop mental illness. That’s why as part of our commitment to mental health and addictions services, we will continue our commitment to the Canadian Hearing Society’s CONNECT mental health program. (truncated. Read the full response in the Liberals' letter.)
  • PC: Letter response. See above. 
  • NDP:   Yes
  • Green Party:  Yes, We know our healthcare system needs to address not only acute care, but also mental and chronic health issues. We recognize that there have been multiple studies over the years with good recommendations on how to build a better healthcare system, including mental health. We would focus on turning these recommendations into action so that we can see real change with regards to mental health programs in Ontario.

5.Funding for the expansion of the Canadian Hearing Society’s employment services program: Will you and your party work to improve resources and specialized service and supports so that Deaf and hard of hearing job seekers have  access to secure, stable employment opportunities?

  • Liberal: Ontario Liberals are committed to giving every Ontarian the opportunity to maximize their full potential as a member of the province’s workforce as we continue to work toward our goal of full accessibility by 2025.  As Ontario’s economy continues to recover from the recession, it is important that all Ontarians have the opportunity to participate. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) will help to create an inclusive environment in Ontario so that everyone, including Deaf and hard of hearing job seekers can contribute to their community and the economy.  Moving the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario to the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, will help ensure businesses are complying with accessibility standards and allow government to promote greater accessibility and broader inclusion. Partnering with business will help government improve employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  One example is the requirement for employers to establish processes that will improve accessibility from the recruitment stage to career development. Our goal is to ensure workplaces are accessible and allow all employees to reach their full potential.  As outlined in the Ontario Liberal Plan, if given another mandate, we will partner with business and commit $30 million over two years to help more people with disabilities achieve their maximum employment potential.
  • PC: Letter response. See above. 
  • NDP:   Yes. We support programs to increase employment opportunities for people who have a disability. We will work with stakeholder organizations and employers to find effective ways of supporting the recruitment and retention of Deaf, or hearing impaired workers. An Ontario NDP government will deliver results by reviewing education funding to ensure that students with special needs receive necessary, professional support. Regulated non-teaching special education staff plays an important role in supporting our students with special needs. Unfortunately, past government decisions to cut funding and freeze budgets has meant doing more with less for teachers and support staff. In secondary schools, the ratio of special education students to special education teachers has risen dramatically from 48:1 to 66:1; between 2001 and 2013. We need a change. New Democrats recognize that when our students succeed, we all succeeed.
  • Green Party:  The Green Party would support initiatives like the CHS employment services program to help your consumers find secure, stable employment. We would prioritize programs and policies that help people find jobs that provide adequate income to meet basic needs. This include exploring the best system for providing livable take home wages and investments in training and education for workers.

 

1 Comment

Add a New Comment
Darren
2014/06/11
PC
So, the Ontario PC party sent a generic form letter...how typical.

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