RELEASE: Mike Harris: One More Reason to Create a Public Home Care System
Posted: November 8, 2012
(November 8, 2012) Mike Harris infuriated nurses by (wrongly) opining that they had gone the way of the hula-hoop. Now, a decade-and-a-half after promulgating massive hospital cuts and privatizing home care, Harris is opening a private for-profit home care company.
The Harris government ignored the law, passed in 1994, that would have created a public home care system like every other province in Canada has. Instead, they created the Community Care Access Centres and then forced them to divest services — even when it was demonstrated that privatization could cost more. This was the start f the despised system of “competitive bidding” in Ontario’s home care. Today, we have more than 700 provider agencies, each with their duplicate administrations. The Harris government opened the system to for-profit bidders and today chain for-profit companies have gained the majority of the “market share” as they call it. Home care has been reorganized to facilitate the bidding — care workers have less time to spend with their clients, and their work is the most precarious and underpaid in the health system. Unfortunately, Health Minister Deb Matthews is considering making permanent the for-profit privatization of home care instead of setting up a public home care system. Without any public consultation whatsoever, the Minister is working with the industry (dominated by the for-profits) to redesign home care. This process should be immediately terminated and proper public consultation about the future of home care should be instituted. We should take the news from Mike Harris as a catalyst for action: Mike Harris is the latest best reason to create a public home care system and rid ourselves of competitive bidding once and for all.