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Kawartha Lakes supports negotiation on eye care

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The City of Kawartha Lakes is hoping the Ontario government and the Ontario Association of Optometrists can find a solution for the funding of eye exams in the province.

At a meeting on Tuesday, August 10th, councillors approved a motion, calling for “a fair negotiation with the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) to resolve the underfunding of eye and vision care” and to forward this message to Premier Doug Ford, MPP Laurie Scott and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.

At the meeting, councillors saw a letter from optometrist Dr. David Stone on the issue.

“The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO), and the approximately 2,500 optometrists in Ontario, who provide 4 million eye exams per year, are currently in a campaign to make the Ontario government live up to their obligation to properly fund eye care in Ontario, which has been neglected for over 30 years,” the letter read. “We are simply asking the Ontario Government [to] agree to sit down, to negotiate a legally binding agreement, to properly fund OHIP-insured eye exams in Ontario. The government has ignored this problem for over 30 years, and continues to ignore the problem by refusing to sit down with the OAO to address and resolve the issue.”

The letter also made clear the potential ramifications, if the government does not agree to negotiate this issue.

“It has now come to a critical point in our province, if the government of Ontario does not agree to a binding negotiation by September 1st, 2021, optometrists in Ontario will no longer see OHlP-insured patients, as it is simply financially unsustainable.”

Ward 5 Councillor Pat Dunn felt this was an important issue for the community and for council to weigh in on.

“With our large seniors’ community, this does have a direct impact on their health,” he explained.

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