OHIP JOB ACTION

From September 1- November 22, Ontario optometrists temporarily stopped accepting OHIP covered eye exams which included children, seniors and adults with OHIP covered eye conditions. The Ontario Association of Optometrists have entered formal negotiations with the Ministry of Health. As a sign of "good faith", the job action has been paused, allowing OHIP patients to book in to see optometrists.

Why did the job action start?

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 had 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.

What has the government offered?

One-time payment of $39 million to retroactively be applied to OHIP covered eye exams in the last decade: when spread out per optometrist per OHIP covered eye exam, it amounts to roughly $1 per exam, which unfortunately does not come close to covering operating costs.

8.48% increase in payments to optometrists: this would increase our fee to $48.81, which would still leave Ontario optometrists the lowest paid in the country. 

How is the job action going and when will it end?

The Ontario Association of Optometrists have entered formal negotiations with the Ministry of Health with a deadline to reach a new deal by January 31, 2022. As a sign of "good faith", the job action has been paused, allowing OHIP patients to book in to see optometrists.

 

The association remains committed to negotiating a sustainable funding model that aligns how optometric care is funded in other Canadian provinces. 

 

What can I do to help?

Please visit saveeyecare.ca to sign our online petition, or contact your local MPP.

For more information you can also visit:

https://patrickmonaghan.medium.com/5-things-to-know-about-the-optometry-funding-issue-and-how-the-government-can-fix-it-60c94009270f