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OHC: “Everything is on the table” to defend public health care

Posted: August 17, 2022

(August 16, 2022)

By: 99.1 News

Ontario Health Coalition executive director Natalie Mehra speaking during a Zoom news conference, August 16, 2022. 

Health care advocates in Ontario are more concerned than ever about potential privatization of public services.

Over the last few weeks, both Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones have come under fire for saying they are considering all options when it comes to dealing with staffing and other pressures on hospitals.

Ontario Health Coalition executive director Natalie Mehra says similarly, all options are on the table when it comes to fighting privatization.

“We have asked the labour movement to call an emergency meeting of the heads of unions, we are asking our lawyers to look at every legal avenue, everything is on the table to defend our public, not-for-profit health care system.”

Mehra says the Ford government has no mandate for hospital privatization whatsoever, particularly given their outright denials of these plans in response to the Coalition’s warnings before the provincial election.

Infectious disease specialist Dick Zoutman says Canada’s public health care system is part of the fabric of our society.

“We should be very, very proud of our hospital and our publicly-funded health care system in Ontario and throughout Canada. It’s a unique characteristic of our country and a defining characteristic when you think of the Canadian identity. To think we would then throw that away to a for-profit money-making model, it goes against the grain of what Canadians hold dear and our value system in this country.”

Zoutman says private clinics will funnel staff and resources away from public hospitals, increasing wait times and putting more pressure on an already overwhelmed system.

He also worries private health care will mean a loss of transparency and accountability.

The Ontario Health Coalition is calling on the Ford government to release a list of all services that could potentially be privatized and which groups in the health care sector have been consulted.

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