WHEREAS routine eye care is critical in early detection of eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, and the health of eyes is critical to overall health and quality of life;
WHEREAS Conditions that may be detected with an annual eye exam include Diabetes mellitus, Glaucoma, Cataract, Retinal disease, Amblyopia (lazy eye), Visual field defects (loss of part of the usual field of vision), Corneal disease, Strabismus (crossed eyes) Recurrent uveitis (an inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye that consists of the iris, ciliary body and choroid), Optic pathway disease;
WHEREAS payments from OHIP have only increased 9% over the last 30 years, which has not come close to matching inflation of costs (which include rent, staff, utilities, equipment, taxes and supplies);
WHEREAS the lack of funding makes it difficult to invest in modern technology, and newer technology means earlier detection of eye disease;
WHEREAS the Provincial government refusal to formally negotiate with Optometrists for more than 30 years has forced the Optometrists to absorb approximately 173 million dollars annually in the cost to deliver eye care to Ontarians;
WHEREAS the 2021 Ontario Budget did not address OHIP-insured eye care, Ontario Optometrists took action and voted to withdraw OHIP services starting September 1, 2021, unless the government agrees to legally-binding negotiations to fund these services at least to the cost of delivery;
WHEREAS this job action will jeopardize good eyecare for those who need the care of an optometrist the most and will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable groups. Children—whose lifetime ability to learn and develop depends on good vision—to the elderly, who are at the greatest risk for vision-threatening ocular diseases.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED
THAT the Town of Oakville requests that the Provincial government recognize the value that access to quality eye care brings to all Ontarians and act now to protect it;
THAT the Provincial government address the OHIP-insured eye care immediately and enter into legally-binding negotiations with Ontario Optometrists to fund these services at least to the cost of delivery, prior to any job action taking place;
AND THAT a copy of this resolution be forwarded to Premier Ford, Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliot, MPPs Effie Triantafilopoulos and Stephen Crawford, MPs Anita Anand and Pam Damoff, the Ontario Association of Optometrists, the City of Burlington, the Town of Milton, the Town of Halton Hills, and Halton Region, to seek their support and be made publicly available.