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Health Coalition planning rally against proposed changes to healthcare

Posted: April 1, 2019

KAWARTHA LAKES-The Kawartha Lakes Health Coalition and their Ontario counterpart say proposed new legislation gives the Ontario government sweeping new powers including the power to force privatization and restructuring of our health care.

On February 26, 2019, Minister Christine Elliott unveiled the Government of Ontario’s legislation on healthcare reform.

Bill 74 also known as The People’s Health Care Act, 2019, will establish a new province-wide super agency known as Ontario Health (Agency) and enable the creation of what the ministry is referring to as Ontario Health Teams.

This proposed new legislation has been working it’s way through the legislature quickly, with an expected passage on April 10; one day before Budget Day.

Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition, Natalie Mehra, released a statement regarding the public hearings at the Standing Committee on Social Policy this morning. She says there are more than five separate sections in the new law that grant the
government and its appointees powers to force health service privatization.

“The process by which this legislation was introduced and has been moved through our provincial parliament is reckless and profoundly undemocratic. Major policy changes regarding vital health care services impacting more than 18 million Ontarians require proper public consultation, meaningful feedback and honest debate. This legislation was forged in secret without any public consultation.” Mehra says.

She goes on to say the government has made a mockery of our system of parliamentary democracy.

“The public was given, at most, one-and-a-half days of notice to apply for standing to present before the Standing Committee on the new legislation. Even with the scant notice, more than 1,500 Ontarians applied for standing. There are only two part-days of hearings in Toronto and no hearings elsewhere in the province in which there are 30 spaces to present to the Standing Committee. Approximately 1,500 people and organizations that applied for standing will not be heard.”

“We object in the strongest possible terms to what can only be described as an attempt to circumvent public scrutiny and debate. Ontario’s health care system is understood to be a publicsystem. Ontario residents fund it, we have contributed more than a hundred years in our local communities to building our local health care services, and we rely on them from birth to death. This legislation takes away all last vestiges of local control over our health care services. The process with which is being railroaded through our provincial parliament is high-handed and grossly objectionable.” Mehra stated.

Over 100 residents who came to the Bill 74 Town Meeting on March 27 in the City of Kawartha Lakes. The Kawartha Lakes Health Coalition says they are growing concerned with the impacts of Bill 74.

“The coalitions will be pushing the Committee to amend Bill 74 that specifies that no integrations shall result in a cut to or closure of any local, small, or rural hospital, and that our health care services shall not result in loss, closure, or reduction in any form.” stated a press release from the Kawartha Lakes Health Coalition on Monday.

The Government says it consulted with patients, families, nurses, doctors and experts before tabling its bill in February.

The Kawartha Lakes Health Coalition will be circulating a petition against the bill. They are preparing an upcoming Day of Action in which leaflets, buttons, and stickers will be circulated to bring awareness to the issue and “show the Government of Ontario that doors that open up our health care to privatization is a non-starter in Kawartha Lakes.”

On April 30, 2019, the KLHC is offering a free public bus to resident around Kawartha Lakes to attend a Rally to “Protect Our Health Care” at Queen’s Park. The bus will leave the Lindsay Square Mall at 9:30. Contact the KLHC to book a spot.

For more information email kawarthalakeshealthcoalition@gmail.com or call 705-738-2617 or 289-356-7537.

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