By Zaid Noorsumar
Carly Luis, the Ontario Ministry of Health’s recently appointed communications director, was a registered lobbyist for private long-term care corporations until this summer.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Luis began her new job as the health minister and deputy premier Christine Elliot’s spokesperson in September. Prior to her new role, she was employed by Strategy Corp, a lobbying firm.
At Strategy Corp, Luis was a registered lobbyist (Oct 2019 to May 2020) for the Ontario Long-Term Care Association, which mainly represents for-profit companies in the sector.
From the end of March to June, she was also registered as a lobbyist for Chartwell, one of the major long-term care and retirement home operators in Ontario. Former Ontario PC Premier Mike Harris is chair of Chartwell’s corporate board of directors.
The government did not respond to a request for comment.
Although Luis’s appointment is perfectly legal and doesn’t violate ethical standards set by the Ontario Integrity Commissioner, it points to the ties between the Ontario PC Party and private sector interests.
Prior to her role at Strategy Corp (2018-2020), Luis served as a strategic communications advisor for the Ontario PC’s leader from 2015-2017.
Revolving door between government and private sector
Lobbying by private sector interests is part of the political process under capitalism, and doesn’t necessarily mean that these efforts are successful. But at Rankandfile.ca, we note that despite universal healthcare being a prized service for the majority of Canadians, the Ontario Liberals and Ontario PCs have ties to healthcare sector corporations.
The results came on the back of revelations that residents were far more likely to die in for-profit homes compared to municipal and non-profit homes during the pandemic.
Health Coalition’s Day of Action
Amidst a second wave of COVID-19 that has led to 50 active outbreaks in long-term care homes, the Ontario Health Coalition is organizing a province wide Day of Action on Thursday, demanding that the Ford government:
- Implement minimum 4-hours of hands-on care per resident per day in Ontario
- End for-profit long-term care (by federal and provincial governments), starting by making Revera public
- Immediate action to improve pay and working conditions and provision of full-time work, along with a recruitment and training strategy
The private sector lobbyists will certainly not be on board with this action.