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- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

We at the Owen Sound Hub try not to provide our readers with information that is incorrect or misleading.
We fact-check to the best of our capacity.

This time we have failed, and we are issuing a revision.

On July 9 we published most of a media release from the office of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker.

In what appeared to be a new funding announcement, the words “additional” (three times), “expand” and “more” were used:

“additional $376,866 this year to support Midwives Bruce-Grey. This is part of Ontario’s government’s investment of an additional     $28 million to expand midwifery services across Ontario, which will help up to 3,400 more families access additional choice”

Michelle Kryzanauskas, founding partner in Midwives Grey-Bruce, informed us today that actually there is no new funding in their budget. Not one of the four regional midwifery practices, who receive money from the Ontario government through a transfer agency, is receiving a single new dollar.

In fact, the funding is simply the contractual amount for the fiscal year that began three months ago - the third year of a three-year contract negotiated between the midwives and the former Liberal government in 2017-18.

Kryzanauskas did an interview with the Sun Times and another with us yesterday, in which she said that she was grateful for the new money which would provide a long-needed 12th full-time midwife to staff a satellite clinic in Walkerton that the Ministry had encouraged the practice to open, and support two mandatory year-long placements for new, registered graduates.

Today Kryzanauskas says that her words were spoken in good faith, and she feels she was misled by Walker's media release.

The demand for midwifery care in Ontario exceeds the funded positions. Four in ten people requesting service are turned away because of a provider shortage. The media release said the funding would “Support up to 90 new midwifery graduates entering the field”.

In fact, that is the approximate number of graduates every year, some of whom cannot find work because there are no funded positions for them.

Mr. Walker is quoted in the media release: “This additional funding will mean more families in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound will be able to access quality care from a midwife”. Kryzanauskas said this is untrue. She has been fielding calls today from people on the waiting list who believed they would now be able to access midwifery care.  She has had to disappoint them.

“I feel we are expected to be grateful that there were not cuts to a negotiated contract,” Kryzanauskas said in a phone interview.

Midwives attend at 17% of births in Ontario, providing primary pre-natal and post-partum care. Fully regulated professional midwives save the health care system money with lower rates of pre-term labour, shorter hospital stays and fewer costly medical interventions.


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