The role of Health Services Restructuring Commission

Faced with a staggering budget deficit, the Ontario government in the 1990s decided it was time to take charge. Mark Rochon describes how the newly elected government introduced an arms-length restructuring commission–granted binding authority–specifically to address the weaknesses in the hospital system. The Commission was also charged with counselling the government on how changes to the hospital sector might impact other areas of the system.

As with other provincial experiences, the process in which the deficit was tackled was critical. Planning studies were used and community leaders were involved. There was also an effort to explain what was happening by communicating to the public through the media and to outline that this was not just about money, but also a better health system. The shift in mindset of healthcare leaders was significant as they were challenged to behave as an interconnected system and to work together.

Mark Rochon is currently the CEO, President and Director, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.