Reaching towards The Sustainable Development Goals: A Discussion with the Young Diplomats of Canada Delegation

Today’s episode chronicles the travels of a small group of young Canadian professionals that recently traveled to Bali to be apart of Canada’s national delegation to a host of international development conferences hosted by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

This selection of live quotes from the events from leading public policy and international development leaders — Mahmoud Mohieldin (World Bank Group 2030 Vice-President) & Peter MacArthur (The Canadian Ambassador to Indonesia) — is supplemented with critical analysis and conversation from returning delegates.

This joint programming created by Beyond The Headlines and The Young Diplomats of Canada showcases the role of youth in achieving our list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Host and travelling delegate himself, David Boroto, takes listeners through an informed and objective discussion regarding the role and importance of domestic taxation and youth engagement pursuant of such goals. More specifically David sits down to have three unique conversations with returning delegates from the Meetings in Bali.

Firstly he talks with Simon Lavoie Perusse, a policy analyst at the tax policy branch at finance Canada with a background in economics and international relations and was a fellow delegate in Bali to have an informed discussion about the importance of taxation.

Second, David sits down with Pierre-Alexandre Renaud, a Project manager at Montreal International – economic development agency and Corinna Ha, a B.Comm student in her final year at McGill university, who were both delegates themselves to discuss the importance of SDGs in global development and the involvement of youth in achieving such goals.

Finally, David chats with Anumeet Toor. Anumeet recently recent graduated from law school and is starting her career as a lawyer with a focus on finance and international trade. David and Anumeet discuss the importance of youth participation in the political process.

Credits:

David Boroto, Host
Dimitri Treheles, Technical & Executive Producer

The Weekly: The Impact of OSAP Changes on Lower-Income Students – A Conversation with Dr. Andrew Parkin

 

Earlier this year, the Government of Ontario announced changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). These changes include the elimination of free tuition through grants for lower-income students, a decrease in the maximum income threshold to qualify for the program,  a reduction in the percentage of grants available, the elimination of the 6-month interest free period following graduation and a change in the definition of “independent student” to someone who has been out of school for 6 years, instead of 4 years.

Alex Gold-Apel sits down with Dr. Andrew Parkin, the Director of the Mowat Centre, and an expert in education policy, to discuss how these changes will affect lower-income students in Ontario.

Beyond the Headlines would like to thank Dr. Parkin and the entire Mowat Centre team for their collaboration over the past many years. We wish them well as they pursue the next steps in their career.

The Weekly: Equity, Inclusion & Public Policy

 

This week, in collaboration with the Gender, Diversity and Public Policy Initiative, we discuss how women in politics is changing the narrative, shattering glass ceilings and paving the way for future generations of female leadership in North America, with guest Gabrielle Gallant.

 

Credits:
Kaidie Williams, producer & host
Aneet Gill, producer & host
Emma Schwartz, producer & host
Fatema Jaffer, producer & host

Urban Resilience

We are currently living in a time of unprecedented urbanization that is transforming the planet and the way we live.

Being resilience means to be ahead, think ahead — Chrystelle Maechler

With a greater concentration of people and assets in urban cities, the impact of natural disasters and a changing climate can be devastating. Urban resilience aims to develop the capacity of every component within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks it might experience. While cities were originally designed to remove or minimize disturbances, a resilient approach demonstrates the importance of living with those disturbances. Strengthening the underlying fabric of a city can improve its development trajectory and the well-being of its citizens.

With regards to the government, it is definitely a shared responsibility, but the majority tends to run best with the local government for responses like snowstorms and heavy rain whereas the federal government tends to get things like military or terrorism security, but all three levels of government that need to be worried about it — Daniel Hoornweg

Urban resilience includes how well a city can adapt to climate change and the impact of extreme weather but also attempts to address a wide array of other issues, such as: inequality, aging infrastructure, and changing demographics. Creating links between physical and social systems aid in developing a resilient city that is sustainable for the future. Today we will discuss urban resilience with three special guests, who will each provide a different perspective when it comes to developing a resilient city.

The most resilient places around the world are the places that have been able to withstand the test of time and all of its issues and problems are places that worked with the forces and with the geography and geology and ecological framework that shape the place to start with rather than against it — Fadi Masoud

 

Chrystelle MaechlerDirector, Producer and Writer of the documentary series, Urban Resilience

Daniel Hoornweg, Ontario’s Chief Safety and Risk Officer

Fadi Masoud, Assistant Professor of Landscape and Architecture and Urbanism at Daniels Faculty

 

Credits:
Anna Miller, Host & Producer
Vienna Vendittelli, Host & Producer
Jasper Parades, Technical Producer
Dimitri Treheles, Executive Director

Music Credits:
A Little Too Much by Shawn Mendes

POLICY, POLITICS & MEDIA: The Intersection of Government Action & Public Opinion

TAKE LOOK AT THE DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

BTH Panel Discussion eBook

Beyond the Headlines hosted a panel discussion on the evening of March 13 to explore the intersection of government action and public opinion.

The game part of politics – who’s wining, who’s losing – is indispensable tool in political life. But I would say there is whole swath of things going on that we don’t really understand right now about what’s happening in our society, whether it’s around economic anxiety, values surrounding immigration and so on. The more detailed data we get, the more we lose the picture of what’s really going on. In a funny way, the media, who used to be able to try and channel some of the fundamental shift in society, that voice is getting lost — Andrew Parkin

As the Federal Election approaches, our diverse panel of academics, policy professionals and industry specialists will examine the ever-evolving role of the media and public interest on the policy process.

Worthy policy pieces do not get read. It has to be compelling… When you get into policy, you have to explain why they’re promoting that policy… We don’t get too many windows in how the leaders will perform, how they would perform and how they would approach decisions especially if they haven’t been prime ministers before. So we have to say – here is what we’re learning about this person during the campaign, or the state of this party, and where the parties are at right now. Because you can’t just pretend that whatever the platform is now will shape the government’s mandate — Adam Radwanski

The discussion will touch on a host of current issues that are salient in the minds of voters; examining how recent government action has influenced public opinion leading up to the 2019 election. 

No matter how hard we try to cover policy on our program, the reality is that there’s only so much of that that is relevant or useful. It may actually be more relevant and useful to focus on how trustworthy these leaders seem. Do they seem like they are forming? Do they seem like they’re in my corner? This isn’t the ‘would I feel fun going to have beer with them?’ This is whether they represent my values and interests or whether I feel if they do. Which may be of more relevant than what their position is on subsidized housing — Steve Paikin

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While trust may be eroding, one of the reasons why traditional media still have a little bit of an edge on other sources is that it’s staffed by people who are there for a singular reason, which is that they believe in it. I hope where we get is that the traditional media becomes the certified stamp of ‘you can trust us’. Traditional media has work to do to reclaim that, we’ve strayed from where we need to be — Amanda Lang

We typically do a big election poll and time and time again, when asked what the most important thing was in influencing your vote today, it’s the leader – not the local candidate, not the party stance on the issues…. People want to hear the horse-race, that’s what’s exciting, that’s what you can measure against actual outcome — Sean Simpson

Panelists & Moderator:

  • Amanda Lang, Anchor of BNN Bloomberg & Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
  • Adam Radwanski, Political Feature Writer at The Globe and Mail
  • Sean Simpson, Vice-President of IPSOS
  • Andrew Parkin, Director of the Mowat Centre & Associate Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
  • Moderated by: Steve Paikin, Host of TVO’s The Agenda

Photo Credits: Robert Giannetta

The Opioid Crisis

On today’s show we will be discussing some potential policy responses to combat the ongoing opioid crisis. As strategies to tackle the opioid crisis have been a focal point of all levels of government, various stakeholders have proposed taking a public health response to address the ongoing national epidemic. In the first half of 2018, there were 2,066 apparent opioid-related deaths, which means that more than 9,000 lives were lost between January 2016 and June 2018 related to opioids. Experts have attributed this ongoing crisis due to the rates of high-dose opioid dispensing which began in the mid-2000s and have significantly increased since then. Canadians are the 2nd highest per capita consumers of opioids in the world, after the United States.

In response, the Government of Canada has embraced and is committed to taking action against the opioid crisis through a targeted public health emergency response which includes: prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement which is supported by evidence-based research. The federal government has also restricted the marketing and advertising of opioids the healthcare professionals. A key focal point of the shared intergovernmental response to the crisis is the the Government of Canada’s financial commitment of $5 billion dollars to the provinces and territories over ten years to improve access to mental health and addiction services.

At the provincial level, the Ford government recently signed onto a bilateral agreement with the federal government to access its share of the $150 million fund earmarked for the opioid crisis in order to expand access to treatment and rehabilitation services at supervised consumption sites. Yet in order to renew permits and receive funding under the new Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) model, sites must complete an application that demonstrates:

  • A need,
  • Its proximity to other sites and services, and community support
  • There is ongoing community consultation
  • Integration with primary care, treatment and other health services
  • “Defined pathways” to addictions treatment, rehabilitation, mental health, housing, employment
  • Pick up of used harm reduction supplies

Importantly, the federal government still remains responsible for granting exemptions to Section 56.1 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to operate a Supervised Consumption Site.  Advocates of safe injection sites fear that the new guidelines set up by the provincial government are overly restrictive and create unnecessary roadblocks that may result in lives lost to overdoses.

In 2017 Toronto developed the Overdose Action Plan which outlined key prevention and response strategies including expediting the opening of supervised injection sites and addressing social factors that lead to substance abuse and overdose such as expanding the supply of affordable housing, implementing basic income and increasing the social assistance benefits and employment opportunities.More recently, the Toronto Board of Health called upon the federal government to decriminalize drug use and possession as there is “evidence on the health and social harms of the current criminalization approach to illegal drugs.”

With the assistance of today’s guests, we are going to dive head first into this issue as we now know how nuanced and interconnected the policy responses that are required to tackle the opioid crisis.

Gillian Kolla is a PhD candidate in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Toronto, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and a Bachelor of Social Work, both from McGill University. Her career to date, both academically and professionally, has focused on the barriers to healthcare and social services confronted by marginalized populations. Using ethnographic methods, Gillian’s PhD research examines a peer-based program that aims to address the barriers that limit access to hepatitis C prevention services and healthcare among people who use drugs. By exploring how risk and harm are experienced, embodied and mitigated by people who use drugs within the environments where they use drugs, her research aims to examine whether interventions in the spaces where people use drugs increase awareness and uptake of prevention interventions, and improve pathways into treatment and care.

Matt Johnson is the Coordinator of the Overdose Prevention Site at Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre. He is a long time Harm Reduction worker, advocate and was involved in setting up the unsanctioned Overdose Prevention Sites in Moss Park and Parkdale as an activist response to inaction around the overdose epidemic and the ongoing drug war. He has been asked to speak as an expert on substance use, Harm Reduction and Overdose response to Social Service agencies, Universities, a Coroner’s inquest and media. He continues to push for greater and meaningful involvement of people who use drugs in the development and implementation of services as well as policies affecting drug users. He works for an end to the drug war, and a humane system based in respect, human rights and greater health and stability for all.

Credits:
Robert Giannetta, Host & Producer
Tony Yin, Host & Producer
Vienna Vendittelli, Technical Producer
Nuri Kim, Executive Director

Music Credits:
99 by Barnes Courtney
High Hopes by Panic! At The Disco

 

Data Privacy in Smart Cities: An Inside Look at Sidewalk Labs’ Quayside Project

Sidewalk Labs is owned by Alphabet Inc., a sister company of Google. Their goal is to improve urban infrastructure through technological innovation, to promote affordable living, efficient transportation, and environmental sustainability.

That being said, Sidewalk Labs’ Quayside Project at Waterfront Toronto, first announced in 2017, has been subject to a great deal of criticism regarding their data privacy policies. Many of the critics of  this Smart City project call for more public oversight; clear direction about data ownership and governance; and improved transparency and accountability Today, we unpack these issues with our expert guests, Ann Cavoukian and Nabeel Ahmed.

Dr. Ann Cavoukian is recognized as one of the world’s leading privacy experts.  She is presently the Distinguished Expert-in-Residence, leading the Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence and is also a Senior Fellow of the Ted Rogers Leadership Centre at Ryerson University. She was the former Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario for 17 years and more recently she resigned from her position as a privacy consultant for SideWalk Lab’s Quayside Project in October.

Nabeel Ahmed is a researcher and consultant on smart cities and social enterprise, and is currently on the steering committee of the Toronto Open Smart Cities Forum. He previously worked in the nonprofit, social enterprise and international development sectors and has degrees in urban planning, public administration, and business administration.

Credits:
Shalini Ramgoolam,
Host & Producer
Nimmi Augustine,
Host & Producer
Alex Gold-Ape
l,  Host, Producer & Technical Producer
Nuri Kim, Executive Producer

Music Credits:
Sisters by Tribe Called Red ft Northern Voice
Mia by Bad bunny ft. Drake

Image Credit: greenfields-smartcitiescities.com, freebalance.com

The Munk School Student Events: LGBTQ+ Activism & Indigenous Child Welfare

 

The Munk School of Public Policy is fortunate to be home to multiple student-led groups who pursue important work and invite interesting guests throughout the year. This episode is about two of those events.

We will first be hearing from Professor Bob Rae who, alongside Professor Verne Ross, was invited in November 2019 by the newly-founded Indigenous Affairs Student Initiative to speak about Indigenous child welfare policy in Ontario.

Most Indigenous communities, even where they have some control over the child welfare system on reserve, or even in cities, are really just enforcing the law; the Ontario law or the provincial law across the country.  That’s the first problem. You’re really just administering somebody else’s rules — Bob Rae

Indigenous children make up just over 4% of the provinces population aged 15 or less, but represent over 30% of those in the province’s foster care system. Furthermore, The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that the Federal Government has underfunded on-reserve services for Indigenous children.  

One of the things we definitely know as a result of the Blackstock case is that the per-capita funding for child welfare is much higher in non-Indigenous communities than it is in Indigenous communities. So that’s a real problem because that means that the basis for funding has been discriminatory — Bob Rae

I think the Indigenous youth movement is one of the hopeful signs. It’s the sign that people are fighting back and looking at saying well, what can we do to improve the conditions? How do we improve the conditions? How do we make a difference? How do we get the investments that we need to deal with the inequality? — Bob Rae

We will then be hearing from Reverend Cheri DiNovo and Dr. Nick J. Mulé, who were invited by Spectrum a few days earlier to speak about the past and future of LGBTQ2s legislation and activism in Ontario. Recent legislation in Ontario has seen the Progressive Conservative government rollback the province’s sex-ed curriculum, thus omitting references to sexual orientation, gender identity and same-sex relationships. Furthermore, a motion passed by delegates at the Progressive Conservative convention explicitly called for all references to transgender people to be removed from the province’s curriculum.

Whenever these things to do happen, it’s not only the education leading up to it, it’s the education that comes afterwards as well. I think the really positive thing about having these rights come into place is it opens up the dialogue, it opens up discussion, it forces people to look at things from a different angle they wouldn’t have previously. Getting it to transfer substantially on the ground with the regard to the reality of people’s lives is very much a different story — Nick Mulé

We have to keep talking. We have to keep educating. And that means educating people who walk into our classrooms with absolutely diametrical ideas. We have to educate the electorate who don’t want to elect us. We have to educate policymakers who don’t want to make policy around us, and once policy is made, don’t want to enforce it, and don’t want to implement it — Cheri Dinovo

Bob Rae was elected eleven times to the House of Commons and the Ontario legislature between 1978 and 2013. He was Ontario’s 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995 and Interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011 to 2013. He is a senior partner at OKT Law and teaches at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, focusing primarily on First Nations, Aboriginal and governance issues. He has written 5 books and is a companion of the Order of Canada.

Cheri  DiNovo is a Minister of the United Church. She served as MPP for Parkdale High-Park for 11 years. She has passed more private member bills than anyone else in Ontario’s history and has more pro-LGBTQ bills than anyone else in Canadian history. She performed the first legal same-sex marriage in Canada, passed Toby’s Act, an amendment to the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity and gender expression, and Bill 77, banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth in Ontario.

Nick Mulé is a professor at the School of Social Work at York University. He is the founder of Queer Ontario, was a founding member of Amnesty International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Action Circle, a founding board member for the Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition and has been appointed co-chairperson of the Ontario LGBT Research & Policy Think Tank by Rainbow Health Ontario.

Credits:
Alex Gold-Apel, Host & Producer
Amanda Lane, Technical Producer
Dimitri Treheles, Technical Producer & Executive Producer
Nuri Kim, Executive Producer

Music Credits:
Electric Pow Wow Drum by A Tribe Called Red
Closer by Tegan and Sara

Gun Violence: Various Perspectives

Welcome to this another exciting episode of Beyond the Headlines! On this episode will be discussing the policy responses to address the increase in gun-related violence.

As strategies to combat gun violence have been a focal point within all levels of government, various stakeholders have proposed solutions that target the policing and sociological issues that contribute to gun crime.

At the municipal level, councilors and residents have been calling upon Mayor John Tory for renewed funding for after-school programming for youth in at-risk communities. The funding would be dedicated to providing public youth spaces where participants can access recreational activities, community services (e.g. resume and cover letter workshops, mock interviews), be exposed to and learn from positive role models and even assistance in preparing to write GED tests.

Others are have asked for additional funding for Toronto Police Services to cover the expense of deploying additional officers in high risk areas, purchasing gunshot noise detection technology (aka ShotSpotter), or expanding the community policing initiative.

At the provincial level, Ford’s government has invested an additional $25 million “to fight guns and gangs.” Part of this investment includes $7.6 million in assigning one legal SWAT team per courthouse in order to “ensure violence criminal are denied bail and remain behind bars.” Attorney General Caroline Mulroney  claims that “these new resources will keep the worst offenders off the streets and keep our neighbourhoods safe” and former Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Michael Tibollo was proud to partner with police officers to crack down on crime in order to restore public safety.

Most recently, the federal government announced a $51.5 million investment into CBSA for an all-weather dog detector training facility, an expansion of  X-ray technology in postal and air cargo centers and additional training for the detection of concealed goods in vehicles crossing the border. In short, funding dedicated to front-line law enforcement personnel to help prevent illegal firearms from entering the country.  

With the assistance of our guests, we are going to dive head first into this issue and the examine whether the proposed policy responses will address the nuances and intricacies of gun violence.

Joe Couto is the Director of Government Relations and Communications at the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP). He has previously worked as a Senior Consultant with Enterprise Canada Consultants Inc., where he developed a thorough expertise in a number of public policy areas including municipal affairs, housing, energy, and taxation and fiscal policies. He is the author of Lobbying vs. Advocacy: Police Leaders as Advocates for Their Police Services and Their Communities (2012), Covered in Blue: Police Culture and LGBT Police Officers in the Province of Ontario (2014), and Gay. Female. Cop. The Intersectionality of Gender and Sexual Orientation in Police Culture (2018).

Doug Thomson is a professor at Humber College and has over 25 years of lecturing experience in four different countries and many academic institutions, including the University of Toronto.  With a doctorate in philosophy from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in homicide, his academic work also includes research on interpersonal violence,  genocide, community policing, and improving student’s learning and their social capital.

Credits
Robert Giannetta,
Host and Junior Producer
Aryeh Ansel,
Technical Producer
Nuri Kim,
Executive Producer

Music Credits
Not Dead by Fine Times
Maybe I’m Afraid by Lovelytheband
Pressure by Muse

E-Health Ontario

 

The definition of E-Health has many variations, but what it generally refers to is electronic communications and processes supporting health practices. Since 2008, the Ontario government has been focused on implementing a province-wide medical records database. This would create a single forum for physicians, pharmacies, testing centres, and patients to access. Theoretically this would electronically keep a patient’s entire medical history in the province.

The standardization of the data for sure in another barrier we’ve sort of encountered as we have started to put our data in. (29:35) – Gail Wilson

Ontario’s E-Health initiative was a big topic of discussion in 2009 when the Auditor General reported that the successive government had wasted 1 billion in taxpayer dollars. Contract awarding was said to have shown favouritism, and money was recklessly spend on this limousines and coffee runs. But since this story broke, discussions about E-health have quieted on the public front. That is why we are speaking today. In the policy field, you hear that one of the biggest areas of interest right now is in healthcare. Focusing on a health records database, we will be looking at some of the existing policy and discussing some of the areas of interest going into the future.

With all this rich data there, can we expose this data to the individual patient. There’s a lot of opportunity there for patients to be able to see their data across their continuum of care. But, there’d have to be a lot of policy work with how you grant access, what you can see, how you interpret that information.” (30:45) – Giuseppe Cammisa

 


According to Statistics Canada, the baby boom generation is defined as Canadians born between 1946 and 1965. In 2011, this demographic accounted for roughly 29% of the Canadian population, or roughly 3 in every 10 persons. Within Ontario, seniors aged 65 and older are the fastest-growing age group. In 2016, there were 2.3 million seniors living in Ontario, this accounts for 16.4% of total provincial population. By 2041, that number is projected to increase to 25%, amounting for a total of 4.6 million seniors. There are a number of other age-related considerations to take into account when examining Ontario’s healthcare system. First, Ontario’s senior population is becoming increasingly diverse. The number of visible minority seniors in Ontario increased by 44% between 2011 and 2016, compared to only a 16% increase among non-visible minority seniors. Second, aging in place has become more common as 93% of seniors live in private households, among which 63% live with a partner or spouse, and 23.5% live alone. Third, seniors in Ontario face an increased prevalence of numerous chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure (48.7%), arthritis (46.8%), diabetes (18.4%), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (7.3%). It is estimated that between 17 to 30 percent of Ontario seniors are impacted by aging-related mental health conditions, including depression and dementia. Collectively, these factors signal the importance and unique nature of addressing the healthcare needs of Ontario’s baby boomers.

 

These demographic considerations are projected to put fiscal pressure on Ontario’s healthcare system. With the cost for hospital care being three times higher than the average person ($842 per day for one senior, compared to $280 per day for one adult aged 18-64), the Government of Ontario faces increasing hospital expenses as baby boomers age. If these age-specific costs today are left as is and applied to the 2030 population, Ontario’s health costs could increase by $24 billion – this is equal to an increase of 50% more on healthcare spending today solely from the aging of the baby boomers. The healthcare sector also represents the largest sectoral expenditure in the OPS with health spending amounting to 42% of total government operating expenditure. The cost of hospital care, compared to long-term care and home care, is also fiscally burdensome on Ontario’s health care system. For example, the cost per day for one hospital bed for one senior is $842/day in comparison to one long-term bed equaling $126/day and home care equating to $42/day.

 

Structurally, Ontario’s healthcare system operates within the domains of Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), with care being provided primarily through hospitals. Ontario’s health system is the outcome of a hospital-based insurance system, which has yet to be fully integrated and coordinated with primary care and Community Care Access Centres. The set-up of Ontario’s healthcare system has been noted as not aptly meeting the needs of an aging population that is facing higher incidence of multiple chronic conditions and has an expressed desire to age in place.

 

In light of the diverse needs of the aging population and today’s fiscal reality. It is prudent for the government to consider reforming the current healthcare system to ensure that is addresses the multitude and diversity of care needs facing seniors. With health sectoral costs continually increasing due to related increases in hospital-based care, it is important for the Government of Ontario to explore more efficient and responsive approaches to delivering health care for Ontario’s seniors. One way to achieve this goal is through the ehealth system.

 

In 2008, eHealth Ontario was created out of a merger between the Ontario Ministry of Health’s electronic health program and the Smart Systems for Health Agency (SSHA), with a mandate to create electronic health records for all patients in the province by 2015. However, eHealth Ontario has been plagued by delays and its CEO was fired over a multimillion-dollar contracts scandal in 2009. Particularly, in late 2009, the Auditor General of Ontario published a highly critical report that documented problems with procurement rules and hiring practices. Private sector leadership unfamiliar with government practices, coupled with a sense of urgency, had resulted in a culture that did not comply with the exacting standards of the Ontario Public Service (OPS). In the years that followed the 2009 Auditor General’s report, the agency received further criticism and negative headlines when work ceased on two of the projects that were part of its original mandate. The Diabetes Registry was not completed because of project delays and, as technology rapidly evolved, the information that was to be captured in the database could now be accessed through patients’ electronic medical records. Management made the decision not to sink further investments into the project. The Medication Management database was cancelled because after a lengthy procurement process, the first of its kind, no vendor would undertake the work within the funding envelope proposed by government.

 

The agency today bears little resemblance to the organization that existed six years ago. Under new leadership and management, eHealth continues to operate of creating a Electronic Health Record, EHR, system that includes four fundamental components of 1. a secure network on which patient data can travel; 2. applications that enable users to record, store, and retrieve that patient data; 3. patient data, such as treatment history, test results, diagnostic images, and prescribed medications, in digital form; and 4. terminals or access points from which users can input and retrieve patient data. Moving into the future, hopefully eHealth Ontario could continue improve its EHR system and deliver high quality healthcare services to Ontario’s continue aging population.

 

[Interview begins at 12:20]

Giuseppe Cammisa possesses a wide-range of healthcare experience in both the public and the private sector. He has previous hospital experience around the Toronto area, having previously held positions at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and the University Health Network. He currently works as the Director of the Project Management Office at St. Michael’s Hospital where he manages a team in the delivery of clinical and business IT implementations for the organization.

Gail Wilson is the Director of Nursing Practice and Clinical System Adoption in the Professional Practice department of St. Michael’s Hospital. Gail possesses a great deal of clinical experience and has practiced in a variety of clinical settings. Currently, Gail is accountable for the clinical workflows and clinical staff education as it applies to all IT clinical applications within the organization.

Dr. Alykhan Abdulla is the Medical Director at the Kingsway healthcare centre in the outskirts of Ottawa. There, he practices family medicine and teaches medical students, internationally trained doctors, residents, and nurses regarding the concepts of primary care. Dr. Abdulla is very involved with the implementation of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in Ontario. He is a peer leader for the OntarioMD, meaning he is an expert user of Ontario Certified EMR programs and can provide support to other physicians in regard to efficient uses of EMR in their clinics.

 

Show Credits:

Erin Anderson-Birmingham, Host and Producer
Ji Chen (Tony) Yin, Producer
Anna Millar, Producer
Dimitri Treheles & Nuri Kim, Executive Director and Technical Producer

Music Credits:
Last Two Standing by Dave Sampson
Comin’ Home by City and Colour