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Report: Provincial health care systems bleeding millions through cafeterias

  • Government-run hospital cafeterias and food kiosks lost over $12 million in Canada from 2017-19 – enough to provide 17,000 MRI scans to Canadians
  • Government-run Tim Hortons franchises in hospitals lost over $350,000

Canadian think tank SecondStreet.org released today a policy brief that examines how much government-run hospital cafeterias, restaurants and food kiosks are losing. Despite only receiving partial data from health bodies, the report identified $12 million in losses across the country during 2017/18 and 2018/19. For perspective, that’s enough to provide 17,000 MRI scans to patients.

“If governments merely ran hospital cafeterias and food kiosks on a break-even basis, they could save millions of dollars nation-wide and use those dollars to help patients,” said SecondStreet.org President Colin Craig. “There is a huge backlog in the health care system right now because of COVID-19 so governments need to look under every stone for savings.”

Highlights from the SecondStreet.org report, include:

  • 74 hospitals lost $6,165,780 in 2017/18 and $5,629,307 in 2018/19 through running cafeterias and food kiosks. These figures do not include three provinces and partial data from several other provinces (meaning total losses could be much higher).
  • Two government-run Tim Hortons franchises lost a combined $353,509 over the two-year period (one in New Brunswick and one in Ontario)
  • The largest loss identified was the University of Alberta’s main hospital cafeteria – a deficit of $821,848 in 2017/18.

“The solution is simple,” added Craig. “If a hospital can’t run a cafeteria or restaurant on a break-even basis, they could rent the space out to a private restaurant. Several hospitals in Canada have done just that and they’ve been able to turn losses into gains and focus more on helping patients. Cooks don’t do surgery, and health care administrators aren’t restaurant managers – and it shows.”

To see SecondStreet.org’s new policy brief – click here.


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION RESPONSES:

British Columbia
– Interior Health – click here
– Provincial Health Services Authority – click here

Alberta
– Alberta Health Services – click here

Saskatchewan
– Saskatchewan Health Authority – click here

Manitoba
– Interlake-Eastern Regional Health – click here
– Prairie Mountain Health – click here
– Winnipeg Regional Health Authority – click here

Ontario
– Baycrest Hospital – click here
– TRI Lyndhurst Centre – click here
– Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Centre – click here
– Windsor Regional Hospital – click here
– Hotel-Dieu Grace – click here
– Credit Valley Hospital – click here
– Queensway-Carleton Hospital – click here
– Bruyere Continuing Care – click here
– Royal Ottawa Health Care – click here
– North Shore Health Network – click here

Nova Scotia
– Nova Scotia Health Authority – click here

New Brunswick
– Vitalite Health Network – click here
– Horizon Health Network – click here

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