The Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) held a protest in front of the Sault Area Hospital at noon today against the Ford government’s plans to privatize healthcare in the province.
The coalition points to lack of funding as root cause for a broad range of problems dogging Ontario’s public health care system, including :
- Under-staffed public hospitals
- Under-used Operating Room facilities
- Poor working conditions for Hospital staff
- Loss of public hospital nurses to private healthcare agencies
Algoma Health Coalition rep Albert Dupuis says the Ford government has underspent on public healthcare by billions of dollars.
“They’re claiming to want to fix it, by privatizing it, but we know from the evidence, that that’s not the way to go,” says Dupuis. “Privatization leads to healthcare for some, those that can afford to pay the extra fees and longer wait times for everybody else. And overall, higher costs.”
Dupuis says proper staffing of ORs with nurses and doctors would alleviate backlogs. Ontario, he said, is suffering from having the fewest nurses per capita in Canada. The OHC says Ontario needs about 24,000 nurses to reach proper staffing levels.
The private agencies are bleeding the public health system by offering significantly better pay and working conditions.
Tara Maszczakiewicz, Regional Vice President, Region 6 of Ontario Public Service Employees Union, addresses the crowd at the Ontario Health Coalition protest in Sault Ste. Marie, Monday.
Tara Maszczakiewicz, Regional Vice President, Region 6 of Ontario Public Service Employees Union, told the gathering of roughly 100, when the province passed Bill 124 in 2019, capping annual wage increases for Ontario Public Sector works at one per cent, that the bill would create exodus of workers and in effect, a crisis.
“Today, it’s true, and we’re there, and we are in crisis in public service,” Maszczakiewicz told the crowd. “You cannot go anywhere today without a lineup. We’re living the nightmare we warned the Ford government about four years ago.”
The Sault protest Monday – the opening day of the Ontario Legislature – was one of a few held across Ontario. Others were held in Toronto, Thunder Bay and Dryden.