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Bill 60 passes at Queen’s Park

Posted: May 9, 2023

(May 8th, 2023)

By: Randy Thoms, Dryden Now

The bill that gives private health care clinics an expanded role has passed at Queen’s Park.

The Ford government says Bill 60 will address the surgical backlog, but opponents say it’s a step toward two-tiered health care.

The Ontario Health Coalition’s Natalie Mehra says they have already documented some patients having to pay out-of-pocket for health care services.

“We have another, at least two or three dozen examples of this. We will move ahead with a formal complaint to the Ontario government, to the federal government, and bring legal action, if we have to, to stop them from allowing these private clinics to extra bill,” says Mehra.

“And so if you’re a private clinic owner in Ontario, and you think you’re going to set up shop here and charge OHIP and charge patients on top, you have another thing coming. Keep your investment money out of our public health system. We don’t want you here.”

The Coalition has launched a community-run referendum to show the government the bill is not wanted.

Online voting is already taking place, with ballot boxes set up in several parts of the province on May 26 and 27.

The opposition also vows to continue the fight against the expansion of private health care clinics.

“Today is a sad day,” says NDP Health critic Frances Gelinas. “A day that will go down in history of our province as the day that the Ford government delivered a fatal blow to our treasured Medicare.”

Gelinas says the NDP put forward 74 amendments to improve oversight that all were dismissed by government.

There is also concern the bill will lead to more nurses and doctors leaving the public system for more lucrative jobs in private clinics.

Erin Ariss, a registered nurse and president of the Ontario Nurses Association, alleges the Ford government is intentionally destroying public health care.

“Bill 60 draws fed-up staff out of our public system and exacerbates the staffing issues already faced by our public hospitals. Because privately operated surgical clinics and nursing agencies pay double what the hospitals do,” says Ariss.

NDP leader Marit Stiles foresees more emergency rooms closing because there won’t be enough staff to keep them open.

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