Informed decision-making in politics: How the major Ontario political party platforms address midwifery priorities

May 18, 2022

The AOM encourages all midwives and their supporters to make a plan to vote. What motivates a person’s vote is influenced by their personal and community context, of which midwifery and reproductive justice may be one factor. Election day is June 2, and advance polls are open between May 19 and May 28.

The Ontario election campaign officially launched on May 4 and the parties have released their platforms. See how the political platforms from the major political parties (in alphabetical order) stack up against the AOM’s policy priorities for the election. The AOM is dedicated to cultivating a productive and collaborative relationship with whichever party is elected.

Green Party of Ontario

  • Specifically makes a commitment to midwifery: "Increase funding for and access to midwives and other community perinatal care services across Ontario."
  • Commits to repealing Bill 124 and problematic sections of Bill 106 that suppress pay equity and bargaining rights.
  • Commits to eradicating systemic racism by reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous and Black children in provincial care, requiring anti-racism and anti-oppression training of public sector workers and legislators, providing support for Black and Indigenous health-care workers, and requiring the Ontario Public Service to eliminate racism and discrimination through a number of strategies.

Ontario Liberal Party

  • Does not include a named commitment to midwifery in their platform.
  • Outside of their platform, the Liberals have committed to repealing Bill 124.
  • Commits to advancing Indigenous reconciliation via education, Indigenous-led mental health supports, childcare, housing and infrastructure projects.
  • There are no specific commitments addressing systemic racism.

New Democratic Party (NDP)

  • Made several specific commitments to midwifery:

"Stop fighting midwives in court: Doug Ford, just like the Liberals before him, has wasted precious public dollars fighting midwives in court, attempting to overturn a decision to grant them pay equity. We’ll ensure the work of midwives is valued and fairly compensated."

"Expand access to midwifery care: Including in Francophone, rural and Indigenous communities.”

"We will protect maternal health and obstetrics services in rural hospitals and expand options for like midwife-run birth centres for families."

"Return a midwifery program to Sudbury to support Indigenous and Francophone midwives and families."

  • Commits to repealing Bill 124 and applying an intersectional gender-based analysis (GBA+) system to ensure that all government programs, policies and legislation are inclusive of all Ontarians.
  • Commits to a host of measures aimed at eradicating systemic racism, including appointing a minister responsible for anti-racism and fully funding the Anti-Racism Directorate into a full secretariat.
  • Commits to expanding Indigenous health by working with Indigenous primary health-care organizations to expand services to more communities, ensure health-care delivery is culturally sensitive and that Indigenous health professionals are recruited and properly compensated.
  • Commits to updating and enforcing the Pay Equity Act and to implementing the Pay Transparency Act.

Ontario Progressive Conservatives (Ontario PCs)

Their priorities can also be gleaned from their proposed 2022 budget, recent funding announcements and a party-released list of priorities.

  • No named commitments to midwifery.
  • Has made no move to repeal Bill 124, which they enacted.
  • There are no specific commitments addressing systemic racism or Indigenous health.
  • Have made commitments to building health-care system infrastructure and hiring more nurses.

The AOM’s Election Priorities

PRIORITY: Government invest in bringing birth home to First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities

ASK:  Invest in the reclamation of Indigenous midwifery so that all First Nations, Inuit and Métis people and communities can access midwifery, especially in the Far North. For generations government has suppressed Indigenous midwifery, and First Nations, Inuit and Métis families have been denied access to culturally rooted and culturally specific care.

PRIORITY: Government to (finally!) close the gender pay gap for midwives

ASK: Launch a gender equity action plan for midwives to prevent ongoing systemic gender discrimination. Create a sustainable health system and retain health-care providers by closing the gender pay gap – midwives shouldn’t be paid less by government simply because their work is deeply associated with women.

PRIORITY: Government to prioritize reproductive health care

ASK: Be accountable for removing barriers and ensuring that midwives across the province can work to their full scope of practice, preventing costly transfers of care. Update the Public Hospital Act to ensure midwives are not restricted unnecessarily and commit to advocating for the optimization of scope.