The Capital District Health Authority is replacing a money-losing Tim Hortons in the Halifax Infirmary with a dialysis unit next month as officials begin to search for ways to save millions of dollars.
Brian Rankine, director of managed services for the health authority, said they looked at moving the Summer Street coffee spot to another location, but it would have cost $175,000.
“Why would we invest money in a model where we lose money? That’s not a good decision,” he said.
Money destined for health care in Nova Scotia supplements the food service. The health authority has several Tim Hortons and cafeterias that have operated at a deficit of more than $5 million over the past five years.
Rankine said unionized labour accounts for 65 per cent of the cost of running the food services.
“All the employees apart from the management are Capital Health employees and so with our wages and benefits, it's hard to reach even a break-even point let alone make some money, whereas an alternative model would see Capital Health no longer operating the retail food services,” he said.
Capital Health has been asking the province for years to allow them to change their food service delivery as a way to stem losses, but the NDP government wouldn't allow it.
Rankine said he’s hoping the new government will change the policy.
Kevin Lacey, Atlantic director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, hopes so too.
“There's no time for waiting on this. For every month there’s a delay, these costs continue to mount,” he said.
A health department spokesman said the province is conducting an analysis of food services across the health care system to get a better sense of how food service dollars are being spent
Until that's completed, they're not commenting on Capital Health's request.
The Summer Street Tim Hortons serves between 600 and 700 customers every weekday. It’s set to close March 15.