The MPP for Kenora-Rainy River is defending recent healthcare announcements in Ontario against accusations of privatizing the system.

Greg Rickford, who is also the Northern Development minister, says you will still be able to use your OHIP card to access more healthcare services closer to home.

“This is fundamentally built on the premise that you will continue to always use your health card, not your credit card for your health services,” says Rickford.

“There is nothing in this plan that has the elements of private health care.”

He stresses the government’s priority is for faster access to care and the right care in the right place.

“We don’t believe throwing more money at it is necessarily the way.  Our investments are going to be targeted, they are going to enhance and they are going to plan for a better future where people’s health care is where they want it.  Is as close to home as possible.  For us out in northwestern Ontario, that matters.”

Rickford adds that the Learn and Stay grant will also more people to study and stay in their own communities for jobs like nursing or paramedics.