United Steelworkers Rally Health Crisis In The Sault


A group of internationally-trained doctors – numbering close to 50 yet currently unable to practice in Ontario – will have representation at a United Steelworkers-sponsored rally outside of Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano’s constituency office this Friday.

“The message is that we are here as a group to support those who have been de-rostered and even those in the city without a family doctor.” states Dr. Aaron Smith, who waits for governments to cut the red tape that prevents him from practicing. “We realize that this is a challenging issue for our City.  We believe that as Physicians we can play a part in the medium term and also in the future as we possess the skills and qualifications but we need to have accelerated pathways to licensure.

The USW rally is in response to the worsening health crisis in Sault Ste. Marie.

 In late January the Group Health Centre announced it would be dropping an additional 10,000 patients by May, increasing the number of area residents without a primary care provider to about 21%.  

The Group Health Centre has been the pride of USW since 1963 and has been held up as an innovative model of union-sponsored health care, both nationally and internationally.  Originally funded by unionized employees at Algoma Steel, GHC’s foundation is based on a promise of no cost coverage and ongoing care. 

It’s a promise the USW plans to keep.

Local 2251 President, Michael DaPrat, held nothing back in his criticism of what he calls lagging federal and provincial government action in dealing with physician shortages, medical professionals’ burnout and a lack of solutions.

“We have a big problem.  We have a Ministry of Health supposed to be managing health care?  Anything but.” said DaPrat.  “Ross Romano is a whip, not a backbencher.  He should be pushing. Platitudes, from nonsense to spin.”

The timing of the USW rally comes the same day that Romano is set to hold the first meeting of a task force set up to study decreasing health care access in our community. 

The task force was announced by the MPP following the Group Health Centre’s January shocker on patient cuts.

“From the moment I was informed of the Group Health Centre’s decision to de-roster, I began speaking to a large number of local healthcare professionals. Those meetings have been used to elicit information to help define the membership, objectives and scope of the task force. The first meeting will be held on March 1st. At that time a summary of the above will be made public,” wrote Romano.

Dr. Smith was hoping to participate in the consultations after speaking out earlier this month.   However the ‘physicians-in-waiting’ group has “not heard from any elected officials from the Government or MPP Romano,” according to Dr. Smith.

 The Steelworkers Union has also not been offered an opportunity for input leaving DaPrat to bemoan “another committee.”

The names of those selected to be on the task force have yet to be disclosed.

One thought on “United Steelworkers Rally Health Crisis In The Sault

  1. Some of the non local unnamed billionaires that own this air and water polluting cash cow should build a new medical facility and recruit the staff, it’s the least they could do while they continue to kill the city and sicken the residents with the copious amounts of deadly poison and particulate that they pump into the air and water 24/7/365, with no repercussion.

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