Re: Snowbirds should fly away on their own dime, not the taxpayers’
One of the fundamental issues with Chris Selley’s piece is his mischaracterization of emergency out-of-country health coverage as a subsidy. To be clear, this coverage is not a government handout. Snowbirds in Ontario have and continue to pay premiums to OHIP even when they are outside of Canada. Selley unconvincingly attempts to make a distinction between snowbirds and taxpayers. Snowbirds are taxpayers; taxpayers who have paid into the Canadian healthcare system their entire lives. So, why should their OHIP coverage be cancelled simply because they choose to winter in warmer climes for part of the year? The Ontario Government’s termination of out-of-country coverage was not only illegal, it was unjust. Premier Ford wanted to continue to collect OHIP premiums from snowbirds while simultaneously removing the coverage that they themselves were paying for.
Selley concludes his commentary by referring to the cuts to emergency out-of-country health coverage as “logical.” The fact is, by increasing the cost of private insurance, the Ontario Government was making it more expensive for travellers to be adequately covered for their trips abroad. If travel medical insurance prices become prohibitive, it would prevent a significant number of seniors from being able to travel. In turn, this would place an even heavier burden on an already strained medical system in Ontario. If retired Ontarians choose not to travel, and they encounter a medical emergency, the Ontario government would shoulder 100 per cent of the costs of medical services. Whereas, if the same emergency were to occur outside of Canada, the Ontario government would only need to reimburse a small portion of the overall health costs – approximately 6% according to the provincial government’s own figures.
The Canadian Snowbird Association