‘Extremely concerned’: Protesters decry Ontario health-care cuts, changes
Posted: November 11, 2019
(November 9, 2019)
*Note: 600+ people estimated at the event
By: CBC News
Around 200 people protested cuts to Ontario health care on Saturday, decrying the Ford’s government’s planned changes to public health and ambulance services at a rally in Toronto.
“We’re extremely concerned about these cuts,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, which organized the rally in Nathan Phillips Square.
Public health should be preventing illness, but “with these cuts we’re going to be more reactionary,” said Sandra Bearzot, who represents GTA nurses with the Ontario Nurses Association.
“This to me spells more deaths.”
The Ford government plans to cut provincial public health funding, so all municipalities must pay 30 per cent of costs.
The government also plans to consolidate Ontario’s 35 public health units to 10, and merge Ontario’s 59 local ambulance services into 10 regional ambulance providers.
Mehra said there are also “dollar cuts” to hospitals and long-term care homes.
These cuts are “dramatic,” said Mehra, and will make hospital overcrowding “even worse.”
Changes to public health funding mean Toronto will face a $14 million shortfall from 2021 onward, the chair of Toronto’s Board of Health Joe Cressy has said.
“If you want to prevent disease you’re going to have to invest in public health care,” said councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam at the rally.
“When people get sick … it’s going to be much more expensive in the long run.”