Chris Borgia – Durham – NDP

Thank you for your interest in making cancer care more accessible. Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen how delays in screening and diagnosis can have a detrimental impact on a cancer prognosis.

We have a commitment to make tobacco companies pay for all Smoke-Free Ontario programming. Companies that have profited for decades from the sale of cigarettes will cover the cost of providing Smoke-Free Ontario programs, as recommended by the Canadian Cancer Society. Smoke-Free Ontario programs will include public health education and promotion to prevent young people from starting to use vapes. The priority for young people is prevention– to reduce the likelihood of developing a dependence on tobacco products. With the introduction of public health education campaigns and peer-to-peer learning, we will combat youth vaping. We will work with manufacturers and retailers to change the packaging of vaping products to follow the guidelines of other tobacco products. This would include limitations on the sale of vaping products at accessible retailers. Packaging for vaping products can be made less discrete to reduce use among youth.
We will reintroduce Vaping is Not for Kids bill to prohibit the promotion of vaping products, restrict sales to specialty shops, bump the minimal legal age to 21, require Ontario Health to prepare an annual report on vaping usage and its health effects and set tax money aside for research and health promotion.
We will work with the federal government to tax vaping e-liquids to reduce likelihood of uptake of vaping and tobacco use by youth. We will focus on taxing manufacturers and retailers rather than the consumer. Taxes on tobacco products disproportionately impacts poor, racialized and queer communities who face the pressures of economic inequity. During the pandemic addictions issues have increased dramatically, calling for new approaches to harm reduction. Vaping products can be a helpful tool in harm reduction programs for cigarettes and more dangerous drugs, but they need to be used responsibly and kept out of the hands of Ontario’s young people. We will work with public health units and community healthcare providers to offer better public health education and support to establish healthy lifestyles, particularly for youth.
We also have a commitment to providing cancer treatment closer to home. We’ll ensure communities have access to comprehensive cancer treatment near where they live, so no one has to travel a long way to get essential care such as radiation treatment. Our plan to improve cancer care includes a new Cancer Centre in Brampton and improved capacity for diagnostic imaging across the province. ONDP will make take-home cancer drugs free regardless of your insurance and where you receive care. Our pharmacare plan will cover the full cost of take-home cancer drugs, ensuring no one pays out of pocket for this critical medication.
We will ensure that future pandemic planning incorporates a plan to sustain cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment through any public health emergency. Ontario New Democrat government will rebuild Ontario cancer care for the better. We’ll tackle the backlog head-on, improve care in and out of hospital, improve screening with a special focus on hard-to- reach communities, and partner with world-class institutions to deliver care closer to home.

We’ll identify and publicize the number of delayed procedures and publish regular progress reports. We’ll expand operating room hours over the evenings and weekends to increase hospital capacity, engage in a health care worker hiring blitz, and create a centralized referral system. We’ll make sure this gets done without privatizing our health care system.

Thank you and stay safe,