June 15, 2020
Dear Valued Patients,
Today marks the first day of job action by optometrists in Ontario. After 30 years of the Government cancelling meetings time and time again with the government, asking them to pay us fairly for an eye examination, optometrists in Ontario are not able to shoulder the burden anymore.
Did you know OHIP only pays optometrists less than half of what it costs to actually provide the service?
And that was calculated before we had to start spacing appointments further apart to maintain social distancing (at this time, the number of patients we can see is only 40% compared to a pre-COVID day). It does not include any compensation for the optometrist. That's right, it actually costs us money to see patients covered under OHIP.
The government of Ontario is only paying us 8% more for an eye examination in 2020 than they did in 1990 -- yet the rate of inflation was 75% according to the Bank of Canada. We feel it should be illegal that they force us to work at a loss, but we are small fish in a big sea and fighting the government is costly and takes a long time.
Optometry as we know it is at risk. As a small business we are already under strain from a 3-month closure and are struggling more than ever. If things don't change many of us are at serious risk of losing of our businesses, which will only make accessible and timely care more difficult for all of you. We love our patients and our jobs and the decision to take job action was not done lightly. It took us 30 years and a pandemic before we reached a breaking point.
What kind of job action are we taking, you ask? Initially the first phase is simple. We are redirecting all patient-initiated partial eye examinations to family practioners, ERs and walk-in clinics. We are also no longer accepting requisition forms for full eye examinations from family doctors and nurse practitioners. Our job action will escalate if the government continues to refuse to negotiate.
Please go to SaveEyeCare.ca, click the Take Action button, and submit your name and email address. We appreciate your support!