Cornwall Community Hospital Asks City for $500K & My Return Visit to CCH – by Jamie Gilcig

Jamie GilcigCFN – Hospitals are supposed to be places of safety and comfort.  Where we take our loved ones in times of fear to be healed.  To take ourselves to be healed.   Of  joy when most often a new one is brought into this world to join our family or sadly at times, when a loved one leaves.

Recently hospitals across the board have had huge issues; mostly due to budgets being slashed.  In some places cuts made to certain areas of staff or odd rules have led to outbreaks of fatal conditions like C-Difficile and drug resistant bugs.

Long wait times are the norm, and in some cities here in Canada hospital waiting rooms almost feel Third World which in itself can be emotionally daunting for ill patients crowded into waiting areas.

I’ve always liked our hospital here in Cornwall.   While all hospitals have good and bad stories I can honestly say the care given to myself and loved ones has for the most part been exemplary.    The staff are usually A Plus in care and service.

CCH Protest May 2012Yesterday I took someone to CCH which is currently under construction.   Last time I was there a VP, Alan Grieg, had me escorted by police off the premises, and I have to admit moments of concern as I delivered someone.    Nothing happened and I think she received very good care although since the last time I’d been to our emergency ward I have to admit that the hospital was looking a bit scruffier.   I’ll have to pass that to the construction issue as the facility has been given a large extension just as the other hospital in Cornwall has been listed for sale for approximately $2 Million dollars.

That in itself feels a bit odd; spending multi-millions when a perfectly good facility is standing right in the heart of the city; but I understand consolidating services and manpower.

The hospital this week issued a plea to the city of Cornwall for $500K to top up their funding goals.    That’s a huge issue because taxpayers are truly burdened enough, nor do they have a say if the City capitulates and scratches the cheque.

To this scribbler it feels as though because of failures of the hospital management and Foundation taxpayers are asked to forcibly donate.  After all that $500K doesn’t just come out of the air?  Either services are cut or taxes go up and neither of those are good.

Further irony is that Hospital reps asking the City of Cornwall for this top up money almost exclusively live outside of the city thus their fat salaries won’t be taxed via their property taxes.   Does that make sense?

Our gut instinct is always to give when it comes to a hospital, food bank, etc, but surely their very high paid management should be held accountable too and that’s where things get sensitive and then certain people try to burn CFN down.

Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and ask why funding goals fail?

Experienced and knowledgeable managers know when raising funds you always under shoot your real target so that you never miss.   For the Hospital management and Foundation under Helen Periard, Jeanette Despatie and people like Connie Vardy (who actually tells people about how she got her gig at the foundation via cronyism  the question should be asked if they all did their jobs?

With the target being missed the answer of course would be no, and with at least one of them on the Sunshine list the next questions would be why and is it time for a change?

Recently I helped a major local event.   Through the generosity of a contact I was able to assist with free frothy beverages for about 500 people.   There were no ad sales connected, nor were the people I helped sponsors in anyway; nor was CFN posted as a sponsor for the event.  In other words I wanted to help and be a part of the community as so many others and stepped up when the opportunity arose.   Sadly the Hospital Foundation was the beneficiary of this event and not only were we never given a press release, but also an issue was made of purposely banning us from the event.      And once non-hospital Foundation people found out about it, as shocked as they were, I chose to stay away because frankly I shake my head at such utter lack of professionalism.

Like it or not by some,  CFN is the most read newspaper in this region.   Why a fund raising group of any kind would behave in this manner only boggles the mind?   And sadly it’s not unique and most likely why fund raising targets fail.

When you take public monies to raise funds in a community you cannot operate only amongst a small group of friends.  That’s being exclusive when your job calls for being inclusive.

Our hospital belongs to everyone.    The people chosen to manage it have to be utterly and impeccably professional (and in Cornwall bilingual apparently although most of our management is not while demanding it of most of the staff) and totally open and inclusive to all of our community and neighbors.

Anything else is unacceptable, and that’s why if people really looked in the mirror instead of asking the City of Cornwall for a $500K for failing to achieve their goal, something they are paid to do, that they should be removed from their positions and that the hospital and Foundation find people that “Get it” and can truly make our only hospital in Cornwall, as special as the sacrifices made willingly by the community deserve.

Jamie Gilcig – Editor – CFN

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

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  1. v sad story

  2. Better management would have solved this problem many years ago,sad really when you think of the waste,look at the money wasted on state of the art O R equipment gathering dust,office equipment that goes out the back door,desks,furniture etc, just ask the eyes that see like housekeeping

  3. Jamie…..please don’t take this personally because this has nothing to do with you or your news site.

    You must admit that the LFA group certainly didn’t help the hospital’s cause by picketing and through leading statements, encouraging people not to donate. With all their complaints and and putdowns, that certainly doesn’t help the hospital’s image nor their funding goals.

    You are absolutely correct when saying some are overpaid. Perhaps a wage freeze for several years could help somewhat. The administrator at CCH gets paid more then the Kingston police chief as per an article in a newspaper.

    As a community we should be concerned and stand behind them instead of critisizing them every chance we get…….we will all need care someday.

  4. wasn’t the picketing about english people loosing thier jobs because they were not french enough?

    I thought if you could do the job, that was ok , what does having to know french in a city where there is very little french ,

    have to do with taking care of people

  5. frisbee…..get a life!!! This article has nothing to do with language!!!

  6. @ stella

    to you maybe, but i know friends that lost jobs because of language.

    asking them to help pay when the language thing costs them money and now they have trouble with family because they have no money

    well I don’t know.

    when they want money hospital asks, we give.

    when we want jobs oh oh you better speak fr–ch or else

  7. You are correct Stella the article has nothing to do with language, but your post does. The fore person needing a life would be you?

    The protesting and the LFA is just a small portion of what is wrong with the hospital.

    You can rest assured many engineering and EPC companies are reeling in the doe from this. What you can see here is merely infrastructure work being carried out at the cost of taxpayers.

    It is part of keeping the economy going though not efficiently.

    i would like to know who owns the old hospital and if there are eny restrictions on the money being paid. The old HDH was owned by nuns and there are restrictions on that building and how it is to be run. Maybe the LFA should revue that.

  8. Stella said.

    “frisbee…..get a life!!! This article has nothing to do with language!!!”

    Jamie said,

    “Our hospital belongs to everyone. The people chosen to manage it have to be utterly and impeccably professional (and in Cornwall bilingual apparently although most of our management is not while demanding it of most of the staff) and totally open and inclusive to all of our community and neighbors.”

    Maybe you need to get Rosetta Stone to understand the English language a little better Stella!

  9. Frisbee said,

    “i know friends that lost jobs because of language.

    asking them to help pay when the language thing costs them money and now they have trouble with family because they have no money

    well I don’t know.

    when they want money hospital asks, we give.

    when we want jobs oh oh you better speak fr–ch or else”

    Nailed it on the head Frisbee, this is about fairness & common sense of which CCH senior mgnt lacks.

  10. I for one refuse to donate to the hospital knowing that so many of the administration have not only made on the Sunshine list, but several have seen their salaries rise from under $100 thousand per year, the point at which they first show up on the Sunshine list, to well over $150 in only the few short years since amalgamation. Raises in well under 10 years that on their own are higher than the average family income in Cornwall and surrounding area and doesn’t even take into account the extra benefits and increased pensions these bloated public servants are racking up. All the while many of the patient care professionals are being held to 1 to 2% increases if any at all. (all this info is publically available at
    There are so many more positions in administration post amalgamation, which defeats the original purpose that one has to wonder what ever happened to the good old days when there was only one administrator who made barely $100 thousand per year and one assistant administrator who made even less?

    And now apparently there are also issues of language discrimination and unfair treatment taking place in the promotion/hiring processes. Surprising that the hospital board wonders why so many like myself refuse to donate to a hospital that from the outside seems to have an administration with a culture of entitlement while at the same time the patient care professionals have been losing financial and moral ground.

    Of course it will probably be pointed out that the increase in administration salaries has been very low or nil for the last year or two since there has been more scrutiny, but dig into the previous years as one can on the Sunshine list websites and one can easily see the huge gains made by many since amalgamation

    This is my opinion anyway!

  11. well I was going to give bit, not rich, but I beleive it is

    better to give to people who lost jobs.

    i won’t go and help them either, to do volunteer stuff.

    my famaily can’t get a job there, so why should I give.

    they take my money but tell us we can’t work there if we are not fre—h.

    maybe the money they get goes to the fen–ch and we get nothing

    who knows, they won’t let us work thats all I know

  12. stellabystarlight December 14, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Rating: -1 (from 3 votes)

    frisbee…..get a life!!! This article has nothing to do with language!!!

    Well Stella it has a lot to do with it.

    Since the good Doctor Tombler wrote his letter to the editor,many people opened their eyes and closed their wallets.

    South Stormont refused to donate to the hospital till they changed their discriminatory hiring practices ,as of yet the hospital has not ,therefore no donations from South Stormont.

    Then there was that protest that was near daily with 2800 signifiers requesting the provincial government to come assess the hiring practices.

    The hospital protests continue and have made many aware of the discriminatory hiring practices,particularly when they hire outside the province.

    A number of wealthy (business) people decided not to give their usuall donations ($ 100,000) combined says a reliable source,because of the hiring practices.

    Another reliable source has advised the group that day to day donations is down 40-50% ,since “the bilingualism issue” started.

    The Cornwall Community Hospital continues not to make their Donations goals ,and will this will continue till they respect their community and not hire in discriminatory manner.

    But unfortunately Pride and saving face is of more importance with senior management then providing the actual needs of the community.

    For its pride that prevents them from adjusting their language policy ,and thereby insulting their own community,till then don’t expect to attain your donations goal.

  13. What is it with Cornwall and mismanagement. First we hear that the city delays the payment to the art gallery because of bad management processes, then we hear of the hospital being in the hole.

    Is it because we are significantly smaller than Toronto, Ottawa or montreal that these issues appear more significant, or are there other issues.

    Cornwall hospital has known for years that It had to change its management practices and fiscal responsibility going back at least to the Champlain lhin audit and report.

    Hospitals used to run deficits and the government would tell them to stop, they would continue to run deficits, and now the government is cutting back funding based on the hospital accountability plan, and in some cases they are removing the senior management and replacing them with better performers, from hospitals that did what they said they would do at the outset, and achieved their targets. Look at Kingston general a few years ago.

    Perhaps that drastic an action is required at cch, as it would from reading the articles on the hospital on this site, be a good idea to bring in senior staff that hit their targets for their departments, which in turn would mean that the hospital hits their target.

    Maybe the MOH has to step in, in order to ensure accountability and high performing teams.

  14. i won’t give or vounteer until my language is respected.

    why should I

  15. Author

    I think that while some can issue press releases that simply get cut and paste much of what we are exposing is simply what many feel. That’s how CFN rolls. When we hear about something we verify it and report on it.

    It’s time that the Hospital and Hospital Foundation look in the mirror and just because city government ostrich on the issue doesn’t mean the public does.

    I agree with the suggestion that CCH and the Foundation need a good housecleaning and that people that truly respect the community and are open to inclusiveness and community building be chosen to replace them.

    It’s time to stop naming the same old people to the same old committees & boards and getting the same old results.

    If people want growth and change in Cornwall things have to actually change.

  16. To Highlander, left or right CC#2 and admin:

    What I have read here is a breath of fresh air. As most of you know, I saw this in quebec years ago. Look at quebec today.

    The bilingualiation of your community, if left unchecked, will fester and be a cancer on your community.

    Although I do not live in your community, I believe that the injustice discriminatory policies of institutions like the CCH should be addressed by any who values fair play.

    i believe it is my duty to speak out.

    Within the higher echelons of CCH, it is fine to hire based on language rather than merit, to satisify the french zealots and political correct politicans,, who don’t give a damm about patient care.

    How could they, when hire based on language rather than qualification, experience and dedication.

    Shame, shame, shame.

    Not onlty that, they have the unmitigated nerve to go to quebec to hire and take the livielhoods away from citizens of Cornwall and the surrounding areas.

    The last time I looked, quebeckers don’t pay Ontario taxes, further draining from the local economy.

    By not donating, and not volunteering, you send a clear and extremly powerful message to not only the hospital policy makers, but the community at large.

    You are willing, able and ready to fight for the majority of English speaking people of Corwall who will fall victims to this anti-democratic hiring policy.

    When I lived in quebec, not one federal politican came to our aid. We were sacrificed, I hope and pray, you don;t go down that path.

    The only people that will take up your cause is you

    Don’t be intimidated, scared or bullied by one group, blog, or politically correct naysayer, you will win the cause of fair and correct hiring policies, as well as the struggle against forced bilingualism

    Good Luck and God Bless

    Jim Quealey


    Sorry for any errors in spelling, I am due to have eye surgery very soon

  17. have to agree with stella on this one. language is NOT what this story is about.

    Jamie hits the nail on the head by mentioning inclusivity – or lack thereof.

    when CFN (the most popular newscast in the city) is hassled, bullied and ignored, the higher ups think they’re punishing Jamie.


    in fact, they’re punishing themselves because they’re saying “we” the readers (people who donate) are not worth communicating with.

    tragic mistake.

  18. Author

    James I just think if you’re going to inflict language testing on staff management should have to pass the same testing. And I think it’s utterly farcical and hypocritical for Sunshine list managers, living OUTSIDE, of Cornwall and not supporting our fair city with their taxes to ask the residents to Cornwall to pair for their failures.

  19. admini I completely agree; management should absolutely take the French test and then we they fail they will be catagorized as having “limited” skills. Wonder how that would make them feel.

  20. It boggles the mind to think that Canadian hospitals need extra money to begin with.

    I thought one of the ideas of Canadians paying such high taxes was to ensure that our socialized hospitals were publicly funded and would provide all of the equipment and services necessary to provide for its’ populace.

  21. We have only one hospital that is trying get the best equipment possible to serve the community and to better accomadate the citizens yet we have nothing good to say about them. Only in Cornwall!!!

    We should stop all donations and close them down….unbelievable!!

  22. When people say take the test, I want to know:

    what are the requirements to pass ?

    Are they the same for anglophone and francophone?

    How many francophones, does this hospital serve in proportion to the overall cost of being bilingual?

    Is the testing the sam r for francophones?

    Given that there are far more English clients in Cornwall, shouldn’t the testing given to francophoines require a much higher standard than to anglophone testing ?

    Who makes up these tests and who administers these tests?

    Are there built in bias’ to these tests.

    Are there anglophones involved in the testing process, start ot finish?

    These are but just a few of the issues I would look into in detail and have the answers published to make all people aware of these potentially intrusive practices.

    Jim Quealey


  23. If clients were all treated EQUALLY, then donations should never be stopped.

    However, who in his/her right mind would donate to an institution that displays an obvious bias against one group at the expense of another?

    We won’t hire you, but please give us your $$$$

    Talk about getting screwed

    JIm Quealey


  24. @stella

    I think a lot of people think funding is a lnguage issue

    many people I think ,agree with me

    I guess you don’t think that getting repect for my language is

    important, but it is

    they can take my money, but won’t give us a job if we are not


    I think that is wrong

  25. Yes, I agree!!! Management lives out of town, hires from out of town and only French now, bullies and boycotts the most popular advertising media(yes, you Freenews) why in the hell should anyone in Cornwall contribute to this hospital? Nothing against the building and the nurses there, but the mistreatment of the community is shameful!!!!!!!!!! Jeannette, Perriard and company have bitten the the hand that feeds them one too many times!!!! Get NEW MANAGEMENT in place, hire local and stop discriminating then you will have my donation gladly!!!!!

  26. My donation will come when there is:
    1. New Management at CCH
    2. No further discrimination based on language(forced bilingualism)

    For all the monies spent on radio advertising (EVERY 10 mins. on variety 104.5) year round……I’m sure that would more than cover the cost of what you are lacking in paying for your MRI. Show the community your bill for those radio adds….I will NOT be giving money for that. Mismanagement at it’s finest! The community certainly didn’t get it’s monies worth with this group!

  27. stellabystarlight
    December 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    “We should stop all donations and close them down….unbelievable!!”

    So Stella you think this?

    Oh how about answering the questions I politely asked of you after I answered yours .

    You are loosing face here and what little respect there remains but not answering the questions.

  28. Did they happen to mention why they need the money?

  29. There is a real opportunity to ask potential future liberal leaders about the forced bilingualism policy at their leadership meet in Avonmore.

    alos, in thr=e name that all is just and holy, DON’T VOTE FOR MADELENE MEILLEUR you think you have problems with bilingualism and french now, if she gets , she will try to go the route of quebec.

    Jim Quealey


  30. is there something wrong with this stella person

    she sure hates the english and loves the french

    I don’t know, but she talks a lot, doesn’t say nothing really, and does not answer questions people ask her

    how come

    everyone else here seems to want to talk and answer questions, even that pierre guy

  31. james quealey
    December 14, 2012 at 11:48 pm
    When people say take the test, I want to know

    I can answer some of your questions.

    At CCH English are sent to Ottawa to New Avenues & given an oral test. Rn’s must get an A- to pass.
    French are NOT tested in English, the manager at the time of interview determines if the employee is “English” enough…

    Remember the Hospital functions in
    100% English-documentation, reports,etc…

    All employees now must be “French”,except housekeeping. Even a morgue technician had to be “bilingual”.

    English RN’s or RN’s unable to obtain an A- are only able to attain FT in their own department,another words, you can’t transfer or advance your career in a different specialty. So, I ask, why would anyone want to further there education?? I know of nurses studying for Health Care Administration “giving up” because now ALL management must be “bilingual” too.

    FYI: Cornwall has a population of 46,000 of which 36,000 are English. 500 people are French only-very young & very old.

    This is why the MAJORITY of Cornwallites are not donating until CCH has FAIR hiring & advancement practices!!!

  32. “Did they happen to mention why they need the money?” That is a good question, Hailey Brown. Indeed, CCH already enjoys a privileged and stable funding by the provincial government, by asking to be designated a bilingual hospital. It shelters them from any government budget cuts. So, to let the public know why they need more money would have won them support. Perhaps, explaining why 100% bilingual hiring rate is a rational idea in a community of 24% francophones would boost their support even further.

  33. To Concerned Citizen# 2

    Thank you for that info.

    Glad to hear people are not donating to CCH they don’t deserve it

    So much for equality in testing.

    That would be another issue I would pressure the Mad. Meilleur’s of the world to do,


    Jim Quealey



  34. Mother-tongue french staff are not tested in English but they are tested in French…how bizarre….. Have to wonder how much money was wasted testing … ridiculous.

  35. Oh but i am sure they got their “bribe money” for allowing themselves (oops, i mean requesting) to be bilingual.

    What a system…

    PS: Great article Jamie and great posts from “most” of the faithful.

  36. RE: this FACT… from Jim..
    “FYI: Cornwall has a population of 46,000 of which 36,000 are English. 500 people are French only-very young & very old.”

    I would like to know how it is that someone can actually be a Canadian citizen and NOT know the damn “common language” of this country. Seriously, how many “very young” or “very old” Russians would you expect to find in Russia that don’t know the language of their country? Certainly NOT this kind of percentage.

    I’d like to put out a BULLETIN…

    ** ATTENTION **
    ALL citizens of Canada. The common language in this country is ENGLISH. please take a moment to learn it. It is a language that is relatively easy to learn and will compliment whatever your language (which, from sheer sense of civic duty to the country you are in, should now become you second language) very nicely.

    Thank you
    Wal-mart shoppers. Now go back to your shopping duty.
    Celine D’s new album (all in French btw) is on sale along with Elvis statues and mother Mary vases in isle 3 🙂

  37. Considering this language thing is always so prevalent in discussions, has anyone seen the legal definition of bilingual?

    Or does the hospital and industry set its own standards?

    If there is no true definition that applies making it easier to understand the requirements and expectations, then the act of enforcing the language is discriminatory because we are at the discretion of the employer not the system from which it draws its funding

  38. Rosie December 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    ” Mother-tongue french staff are not tested in English but they are tested in French…how bizarre…”

    Well said Rosie -they send people to be tested in Ottawa “New Avenues” for French -a professional language service .

    But English is tested by their own management who deems themselves as professional language experts in English,yet all charting and services are predominately in English.

    Is this not highly suspicious ,why not test English on Equal grounds?

    Perhaps senior management should take the language tests as the are the ones implementing those policies?

    But no that would mean managerial accountability which is a no no at this hospital.

  39. Hailey Brown, I don’t know if anyone has a definition of bilingual to make everyone happy. Ontario made changes in 2009 that incorporates more people, but the federal census uses a different definition, as we see different total numbers for each.
    Also, anyone using either definition should remember these numbers are self assessed and not tested by any consistent criteria.

  40. Under the official languages act if a population has 5000 (self assessed) fracophones then the area deemed under the FLSA .
    Therefore 90% of Ontario population is under the FLSA.

    There are near 500,000 francophones most in eastern Ontario but across the province French services must be provided.

    Every provincial institution must provide bilingual service no matter if the numbers warrant.

    An example of this is court services in Windser for a very,very small percentage of which May be used once a year ,if that.

    There is no true measurement to how those French services are provided.

    Why can’t we have what would be deemed by most democratic societies fair provision for official languages such as Representation by Population.

    A Simple yet measurable implementation tool.

  41. Allowing self governing language expectations, especially in Cornwall, is detrimental to any one hoping to find employment and people expecting the beast in care. If the government and the department of transportation can implement driving legislation and implement restrictions such as a maximum and in some cases a minimum requirement the same must be done for language. Or else we have what is happening in Cornwall.

    We have the same issue with education, the government hands down general guidelines and legislation. Then the independent governing bodies extract what best serves them only. Then the client, students in education and in the case of hospitals patients, is lacking the best care due to a business perspective. That is no different then socialism.

    We can’t blame government for neither situation, but maybe just us for settling for second best

  42. Hailey Brown
    December 19, 2012 at 10:03 am

    We should’t settle for second best, we can’t blame people for taking advantage of a situation as this is human nature but Government policy that creates this advantage .

    Under god we are equal but under law we are not.

  43. We agree highlander, but we also do nothing to change the situation therefore are responsible for that action.

    Government is only as good as the people who let them run their lives. As is any governing body we are made to follow.

    Just take a look at the Middle East, seems they have the idea of how to incorporate change

  44. True Hailey Brown but people are “walking up” they can not see the forest from the trees -but that’s what we are there for providing facts as well at having them look “outside the box”

    Countless people are affected by these discriminatory language laws they need to know they are not alone.

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