Kelvin Ng: Ottawa move must be “cost-neutral”

Health Minister Kelvin Ng says he’ll allow the Baffin health board to move southern services to Ottawa only if the board can show that it’s “cost-neutral.”


IQALUIT – NWT Health Minister Kelvin Ng said he won’t approve a move of medical services from Montreal to Ottawa if it’s more expensive.

“I was not prepared and I am still not prepared to authorize that move unless it proves to be cost neutral,” Ng told the legislative assembly last week.

The Baffin Regional Health and Social Services board decided last week to pursue a contract with the Ottawa Health Services Network, an organization composed of several Ottawa hospitals from which specialists would provide medical services to Baffin residents.

Last fall the board decided to end its 30-year relationship with the McGill-Baffin program in Montreal in favor of the Ottawa group, but Ng ordered a cost benefit analysis of that decision after the board failed to give adequate reasons for the move.

The board is currently in the process of negotiating a contract and is expected to make a final decision on whether to move to Ottawa this month.

Baffin House, the boarding home where patients stay while in Montreal, is owned by the GNWT, not the health board, and has an estimated market value of $1 million.

Ng said he’ll decide whether or not money from the sale of that building will be used to offset any expenses incurred due to a move to Ottawa.

“As it stands now, that facility has been paid for by this government,” Ng said. “As a result of that, that would have to be taken into consideration in any decision before it’s finalized.”

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