Ontario Election Handbook

Posted date : Oct 10, 2007.Back to list

On Wednesday October 10, 2007 the citizens of Ontario will choose their next provincial government. As a member of the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA), now is the time to ensure your voice is heard!

Take the time to learn where your local candidates stand on these important issues. Do they support your right to travel? What will they do on your behalf?

We don't want election promises! We want fair treatment!

Gerry Brissenden
Canadian Snowbird Association

Access to Emergency Health Coverage When Travelling
Under the portability criterion of the Canada Health Act (section 11), insured Canadian residents who are temporarily absent from their home province and outside Canada must continue to be covered for insured health services during their absence. Where the insured services are provided outside Canada, payment is to be made on the basis of the amount that would have been paid by the province for similar services rendered in the province. This allows individuals to travel or be absent from their home province or territory, within a prescribed duration, while retaining their health insurance coverage.

Ontarians who require emergency in-patient hospital services while out-of-country are eligible to receive a reimbursement of up to a maximum of $400 per day for complex hospital care, and $200 for less intensive medical care.

The 2004 Ontario Budget Papers prepared by Minister of Finance, the Hon. Greg Sorbara state that the average cost of one night in an Ontario hospital is $851. With a maximum out-of country reimbursement rate of $400 per day the current policy is a clear violation of the portability principle of the Canada Health Act.

The Canadian Snowbird Association is simply asking the Government of Ontario to reimburse emergency in-patient and out-patient services required by travellers at the same rate per day as that paid for similar services within the province. We are not asking the government to pay the high costs of U.S. hospital stays and our proposed changes will not cost the province any more money than if the emergency had occurred while the patient was in Ontario.

Ontario seniors who embark on long-term travel pay a full year of taxes to the Government of Ontario. We must pay for infrastructure and other government services that we do not use for a full year, but one thing we expect and deserve is to have full, equal access to the health care for which we pay taxes. We should not be discriminated against and have to choose between exercising our right to travel and having access to the health care we may require.

Question: Does your local candidate support the portability principle of the Canada Health Act? Do they support reimbursing emergency in-patient and out-patient services required by travellers at the same rate per day as that paid for similar services within the province? Do they support updating these rates to match changes in real costs?

Preservation of Health Coverage for Frequent Travellers
Ontarians can keep their health benefits and be out of the province for up to 212 days (approximately seven months) in any 12-month period. While this is one of the longest allowable travel periods in Canada, Ontario does not have a policy that allows residents to travel the rest of the year without risk of losing their benefits. The government does, however, have the discretion to approve continued coverage during a longer vacation absence; the limit of this discretionary extension (available in one-year increments) is two years in a lifetime.

Question: Does your local candidate support allowing for an unlimited number of short-term trips to anywhere in the world, provided that the traveller maintains his or her principal residence in the province?

Do they support removing the two-year lifetime limit on government-approved long-term absences?

Access to Prescription Drugs for Use during Travel
Ontario's Drug Benefit Program (ODB) will cover the cost of 200 days worth of prescription drugs, but only in two separate 100-day supplies. This provides Ontario travellers with a 200-day supply of drugs while they are allowed to spend 212 days out of the province without jeopardizing their eligibility for health coverage.

In order to obtain the second 100-day supply, the traveller must provide the pharmacist with a letter (written by the individual) or a copy of travel insurance, in either case confirming the planned departure. The second 100-day supply is available only to a patient who has less than a 30-day supply on hand.

As an alternative the Ontario government suggests that the patient can make arrangements with the physician and pharmacist to receive a second supply, while abroad, by registered mail or courier. The Ontario government does not reimburse the cost of prescriptions purchased while outside of the province.

Question: Does your local candidate support enacting clear legislation and regulations expanding the drug program to cover the cost of a 212-day supply of prescription drugs instead of the current 200 days?

Do they support simplifying the process for obtaining access to a 212-day supply of prescription drugs?

Will they support reimbursing the cost of medication prescribed by appropriately accredited physicians and dispensed outside the province at the same rate as if purchased in the province?

Access to Voting Rights for Travellers
Ontario is the only place in North America that fails to permit absentee mail-in balloting. Voters enjoy this right in the rest of Canada, all 50 U.S. states and Mexico. Ontarians absent from the province on Election Day can only vote at advance polls or by proxy.

Proxy voting is a cumbersome, time-consuming process by which a traveller appoints another person in the electoral district to vote on his or her behalf. The traveller's signature on an application to vote by proxy must be witnessed by a third individual who is not the appointed proxy. The proxy must then take the application to the returning officer and be issued a certificate to vote; he or she must then bring the certificate to an advance poll or regular poll and cast a ballot on behalf of the voter.

Question: Does your local candidate support amending the Elections Act to join the rest of North America by allowing mail-in voting?

Registered Provincial Political Parties

Contact information to conduct election platform inquiries

Ontario Liberal Party

Party leader Dalton McGuinty
Contact Information
10 St. Mary Street, Suite 210
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1P9
Tel: 416-961-3800
Toll free: 1-800-268-7250
Fax: 416-323-9425
Email: infor@ontarioliberal.ca

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

Party leader John Tory
Contact Information
401-19 Duncan Street
Toronto, Ontario M5H 3H1
Tel: 416-861-0020
Toll-free: 1-800-903-6453
Fax: 416-861-9593
Email: comments@ontariopc.net

Ontario New Democratic Party

Party leader Howard Hampton
Contact Information
101 Richmond Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5C 1N9
Tel: 416.591.8637
Toll free: 1.866.390.6637 (ONDP)
Fax: 416.599.4820

For a full list of registered political parties in the province of Ontario please visit www.elections.on.ca

Election Date and Times

Election and Referendum day is October 10, 2007
Polls will be open from 9:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m.

Advance polls
If you prefer to vote before Election Day, you may take advantage of any advance polls in your electoral district. All advance poll locations are chosen for ease of access. Ballots cast at the advance polls are counted at the close of the polls on Election Day.
The dates, times, and locations of advance polls are provided on the Notice of Registration card. During the election, they will also be posted on www.elections.on.ca and in the newspaper.

Returning Office Advance Polls:
September 22 to October 4, 2007 - 9:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m.

Area Advance Polls:
September 25 to October 4, 2007 - 12:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m.

Area Advance Polls in Satellite Offices:

September 25 to October 4, 2007 - 12:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m.

Elections Ontario Information
How will I know if I'm on the voters list?
The majority of qualified voters are already on the Permanent Register of Electors for Ontario, which is used to prepare the preliminary Voters List for elections, by-elections and for a referendum.
When an election is called, a Notice of Registration card is mailed to voters confirming they are on the list. It also lets them know the location of their Election Day poll, as well as dates and locations of advance polls.

If you do not receive your Notice of Registration card, you may not be on the Voters List. If you are qualified to vote but not on the list, it's simple to correct.
  • You may check to see if your name appears on the preliminary list of electors by submitting your information online at www.elections.on.ca
  • Telephone Elections Ontario toll-free at 1-888-668-8683. Office hours are Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm.
  • Write to Elections Ontario at:
Elections Ontario
51 Rolark Drive
Toronto, Ontario M1R 3B1

Can I still vote if I'm not on the list?
If you're qualified to vote, but not on the list, you have two options:

  • Obtain a Certificate to Vote.
  • You may obtain a Certificate to Vote from the Revision Assistant at your electoral district Returning Office or at any advance poll location. This is exchanged for a ballot at the advance poll or at the poll location on Election Day. (Certificates to Vote are issued up to 8:00 p.m. the day before Election Day.)
  • Have your name added to the Voters List at your polling place on Election Day.
  • In order to have your name added:
  • you must make a statutory declaration to establish your identity and your qualifications,
  • you must complete an application to be added to the list (F0520), and
  • you must confirm your identity and residence by providing proof of identity and proof of residence.
Canadian Snowbird Association
180 Lesmill Road
Toronto, Ontario M3B 2T5

Office Hours (Eastern Time)
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday

General inquiries (English service)
Telephone (416) 391-9000
Toll-Free 1-800-265-3200

General inquiries (French service)
Telephone (416) 391-9090
Toll-Free 1-800-265-5132
Fax (416) 441-7007

E-mail csastaff@snowbirds.org

Related links
Elections Ontario
Ontario Election Handbook