Why is the job action happening?
In 1989, the government paid optometrists ~$39 per eye exam. The government currently pays optometrists ~$44 per eye exam, amounting to a $5 increase over 32 years. This OHIP payment to optometrists is before operating costs, which means it does not take into account staff wages, equipment and rent etc. The $5 increase that occurred since 1989 also does not account for the increased medical scope of optometry, inflation, increased costs of living, and new but more expensive technology available for equipment.
A recent third- party (“arms length”) study found that the operating cost per eye exam is approximately $80. This means that since the government pays only ~$44 per eye exam, optometrists pay ~$36 per OHIP exam, out of pocket. This issue has been brought to the government's attention throughout the past 32 years with no action from the government. As a result, Ontario optometrists have decided to temporarily stop OHIP eye exams until a commitment is made for optometrists to at least see patients “at-cost” and not “at a cost”.
Ontario optometrists are the lowest paid in the country.
As the most populated province in the country, compared to other provinces with publicly funded optometry services, Ontario is the lowest funded.
The funding for seniors’ eye exams would have to increase more than 60% to reach the next lowest-funded province, Manitoba, and by more than 125% to reach the next lowest-funded, Québec.
When will it end?
During the most recent mediation, the government declined to cover the operating costs of providing an eye exam. The Ontario Association of Optometrists has asked for formal negotiation in which the result would be legally binding, rather than mediation which is not legally binding and may result in no action. The government has declined formal negotiation thus far.
The job action will end when the government commits to reimbursing at least the cost of providing an eye exam and commits to a formal negotiation process like doctors, nurses and teachers.
What can I do to help?
Please visit saveeyecare.ca to sign our online petition, or contact your local MPP.
WHITBY Lorne Coe
AJAX Rod Phillips
OSHAWA Jennifer French
PICKERING Peter Bethlenfalvy