Health-care coalition stages protest against privatization in Windsor
Posted: April 19, 2023
(April 18th, 2023)
By: Dale Molnar, CBC News
Health-care workers, union representatives, nurses and PSWs joined organizers with the local representatives of the Ontario Health Coalition in a noontime protest Monday against privatization within health care.
“Our message is that we want to raise the alarm that Doug Ford is attempting to privatize our health-care and that we’re not going to stand by in Windsor-Essex and watch that happen,” said Tracey Ramsey, co-chair of the Windsor-Essex Health Care Coalition.
Ramsey joined several dozen protesters at the corner of Walker and Tecumseh Roads who held signs and attracted honks from motorists. Similar protests were staged in Toronto, Waterloo, Niagara and Ottawa by the health-care coalition.
In August, the provincial government announced a plan to boost privately delivered but publicly covered services. The government said it will invest more to increase surgeries in pediatric hospitals and existing private clinics covered by OHIP. It said it’s also considering options for further increasing surgical capacity by increasing the number of those procedures performed at “independent health facilities.
At the time, Health Minister Sylvia Jones said Ontario needs to be “bold, innovative and creative” when looking for ways to improve the health system. Ramsey points to private clinics being used to deliver health care and nurses who work for private companies being brought into hospitals to bolster staffing levels.
She says the government should be funding the public health-care system better to offset shortages of staff and keep ICUs, ERs and maternity services open.
“We saw throughout the pandemic all these private clinics popping up for testing,” she said.
“They still exist, private labs, private services like [cataract surgeries] like surgeries that really are unfortunately the mainstay of services that are happening in our hospital are being pulled out into private clinics where people are going to access that care.
“We have many people in our region who’ve gone to these private clinics and have said they’ve received substandard care,” she said. Addictions counselor Marty Bevan, one of the protesters at the rally, said the province has “dropped the ball.”
“I was just thinking they need to drop a whole bunch of coal in front of Doug Ford’s office because that’s all he deserves for Christmas,” he said.
Ramsey said she does not want to see a U.S.-style of health care where people who can’t afford services go bankrupt. The province, however, says Ontarians will always be able to use their OHIP cards to receive health-care services across the province.
“We are proud that Ontario has and will continue to have the one of the largest publicly funded health-care systems in the world, and this year alone our government has invested $77.5 billion into this system to continue to provide Ontarians with the care they need, when they need it,” a health ministry spokesperson said in a statement.