In the past week, some disturbing information has come to light about plans made by the Conservative Government about privatization and outsourcing of Ontario’s healthcare system.
First, a draft bill was leaked to the Ontario NDP. Leader Andrea Horwath shared the document at a media conference and the contents were troubling. The Bill, that we now know the Progressive Conservative Cabinet approved on January 16, set out a plan to create a healthcare “Super-Agency” with sweeping powers.
The draft bill would dissolve the Local Health Integrated Networks (LHINs) and create one centralized government agency. The Minister of Health and the new “Super Agency” would have the capacity to close or merge health services, such as hospitals, long-term care homes or community health centres.
New information released on Monday of this week further outlined this betrayal of the people of Ontario. A separate secret government document revealed a plan of widespread outsourcing of vital services including inspections, laboratories, licensing, devices and Ornge.
This is alarming. As a union member, I am worried for the healthcare workers who are already asked to do too much with far too little.
Our members who work as paramedics with Ornge do not deserve the pressure of being specifically named for outsourcing as they perform a critical and highly stressful public service.
As an Ontarian who relies on the same healthcare system, I an angry that the Conservatives are deceiving the public and making these secret plans to dismantle our public services.
When the Conservatives were in power under Harris, they took a chainsaw to our healthcare system. We are still feeling the effects in private long-term care homes, in hospitals and clinics right across the province.
The government has a responsibility and a mandate to invest in healthcare, to benefit all people in this province.
We have requested a meeting with Christine Elliot, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, to discuss the possibly devastating effects of changes like those described in the leaked documents. We will continue to demand that this government immediately cease all strategies to dismantle our public healthcare system.
There is a better way forward. I recently presented to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, and shared Unifor’s plan to protect public services and support all of our communities. This plan includes fully funding healthcare, including hospitals, drug coverage, mental health care and long-term care.
The people of Ontario did not vote for cuts, and we can afford to invest in our world-class healthcare system, to make it even better. If you would like more information about Unifor’s presentation to the finance committee, the submission is attached to this email.
Ontario Regional Director