Our communities have spent a hundred years fundraising & volunteering to support our local public hospitals & build services closer to home. On January 16, Premier Doug Ford announced plans to take thousands of surgeries & diagnostic tests out of our local public hospitals and privatize them to for-profit hospitals & clinics. At any time, this would be devastating to our community hospitals. Currently, with our hospitals desperately short-staffed, this will take vital nurses, health professionals, doctors, and the funding for them away from our public hospitals and transfer them to for-profit clinics and hospitals, leaving our community hospitals with fewer staff, fewer services and fewer resources. Without question, this is the privatization of the core services of our local public hospitals.

There is another option. Virtually every community hospital in Ontario has operating rooms that are closed down in evenings, on weekends, for weeks or months each year or even permanently. We have the operating rooms. Our public hospitals simply do not have the funding and support to staff them. Ontario is dead last in Canada in funding our public hospitals. We have the lowest funding of any province in the country and the fewest nurses per patient anywhere in Canada. Even if our government funded our hospitals to the average of the rest of Canada, we would clear the backlogs and wait lists for surgeries and diagnostic tests in our local public hospitals.

We are organizing a citizen-led community opinion vote, like a public referendum at the end of May. We are asking Ontarians to vote whether or not they want our local public hospitals’ services to be privatized to for-profit hospitals and clinics. The referendum will be held in community voting stations, at tables staffed by volunteers outside — or if appropriate inside — local businesses, coffee shops, busy stores, service clubs, places of worship, legions and as many places as possible, measuring public opinion on the plan to cut and privatize our local public hospitals’ services.

Why for-profit privatization is a terrible idea

We don’t need to privatize.

Operating rooms in our public hospitals are closed evenings, weekends — sometimes even permanently — due to underfunding.
It is a choice by government not to fund & open the under-used operating rooms we already have in our public hospitals.
Even a few extra hours per day over 3 months would clear the backlog of patients waiting.

For-profit hospitals & clinics only take the fast, easy, profitable patients.

They also take their staff out of our local public hospitals.
They leave the complicated surgeries, such as cancer care, and riskier patients (eg. those with diabetes, are overweight, have COPD/heart arrhythmias etc.) to our public hospitals with less funding & staff to provide care.

For-profit clinics & hospitals routinely charge patients thousands of dollars on top of OHIP for needed surgeries & tests.

This “extra-billing” is illegal under the Canada Health Act which requires care to be provided without charge based on medical need — not our wealth, & which bans extra-billing. No government has been successful in controlling the for-profits.
It would require a whole new system to monitor, inspect and police them.
For-profit clinics also take profits by getting patients to pay for unneeded tests & extras.
Their prices are very high — often up to five times higher than OHIP costs.
For-profit privatization is a fatal threat to our cherished system of Canadian public health care for all & is more expensive.

Ontario funds our public hospitals at the lowest rate in Canada.

The Ford government has underspent the health care budget by $1.25 billion, even while patients are waiting,
our emergency departments & other vital services are closing, and our nurses & hospital staff are leaving by the thousands due to overwork, burnout & frustration.
This follows years of underfunding.
If the Ontario government funded our health care even to the average of Canada, they could resolve the crisis.

The Ford government’s hospital privatization plan is a “take away” from our local public hospitals.

It will be damaging to all public hospitals & particularly devastating to medium & smaller hospitals that lose surgeries, diagnostics, doctors, nurses & health professionals.

To find out how to vote Online or In person. Click on the link below.

Unifor Local 88 will also have a polling box available at the hall on May 26 from 8:00am to 3:30pm