THUNDER BAY – Doug Ford is refusing to help people in Thunder Bay who are sick and are being forced to rack up debt to pay for health-related travel costs, said NDP MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell (Thunder Bay-Atikokan) during question period on Wednesday.
“People in Thunder Bay who are dealing with illness are getting into debt to pay for the increasing cost of travel to get the care they need because the Ford government never fixed the Northern Health Travel Grant,” said Monteith-Farrell.
Monteith-Farrell said the Northern Health Travel Grant mileage rate remains the same despite the cost of gas reaching nearly $2 a litre in Thunder Bay. She cited the case of one patient in Thunder Bay who makes regular trips to Manitoba for specialist care and whose gasoline costs have gone up by over 30 per cent since the start of the year.
“People that need to travel for medical care are struggling, especially because they have to pay up front and wait for reimbursement. It’s putting people into debt, and others just can’t afford to get the healthcare they need,” said Monteith-Farrell.
“When is this government going to raise the rates for the travel grant?” asked Monteith-Farrell. “People can’t afford to wait for this government to do the right thing. They’ve been waiting for nearly four years now for something to improve.
“Everyone in this province has a right to get the healthcare they need, whether they are in Thunder Bay, Atikokan or Toronto. This government must fix the Northern Health Travel Grant and finally begin treating Northern Ontario residents equally.”