Catherine Fife MPP, Waterloo

Government of Ontario

Stiles challenges Ford to stop ignoring health care crisis

Published on January 11, 2024

NDP Leader gives Premier three quick solutions to shorten wait times today 

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Marit Stiles delivered a challenge to Doug Ford on Thursday to stop ignoring Ontario's health care crisis and work with the NDP to implement three solutions to immediately reduce out-of-control health care wait times.  

“Last year, we saw hundreds of emergency rooms and urgent care centres shuttered; people forced to travel far because their ER or urgent care centre lacked the staff to stay open,” Stiles said at a press conference. 

“Doug Ford promised to fix the Liberals’ hallway medicine crisis, but things are only getting worse. The Premier needs to stop pretending this crisis doesn’t exist. He can bring the Legislature back right now and work with us to reduce health care wait times.” 

Stiles offered three things the government can do today: 

1. Drop its appeal of Bill 124: the Conservatives are spending untold millions in public dollars fighting a Supreme Court ruling that declared their wage-suppressing legislation unconstitutional. 

2. Establish safe nurse-patient staffing ratios: Follow in the footsteps of British Columbia and establish minimum nurse-patient staffing ratios to ensure quality of care.  

3. Cap agency nurses: Pass the Ontario NDP’s legislation to ensure every hospital and long-term care home in a municipality of 8,000 residents or more limit its spending on health care staffing agencies within two years.  Prevent the poaching of public nurses by prohibiting agencies from paying their workers more than 10 per cent above the rate in the public workplace. 

“Without workers, our hospitals can't function,” Stiles said. “I urge the Ford government to work with the NDP and adopt these three solutions to improve working conditions and fix our wait times crisis now.” 


  • There were more than 200 unplanned temporary emergency department closures in 23 Ontario hospitals between July 2022 and June 2023. 

  • The most recent data on emergency department waits shows that patients admitted to hospital spent an average of 22.4 hours waiting for an in-patient bed. 

  • The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions released a survey of hospital workers that found nearly half are thinking of leaving the sector.  

  • Many reported exhaustion and poor mental health because of their poor working conditions. 

  • The Auditor General found that private staffing agencies are forcing hospitals to spend more for less: some hospitals have more than tripled spending on private staffing agencies, adding to their financial pressures. 

  • In 2023, the Ontario NDP introduced legislation to limit spending on private health care staffing agencies.  

  • The province’s acting auditor general found Ontario had no central plan to help hospitals tackle nurse shortages that lead to temporary emergency department closures.