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Town hall meeting to discuss major changes to Ontario health care

Posted: April 3, 2019

The public is being kept in the dark about changes coming to Ontario’s health care, says the Timmins organizer of a town-hall style meeting being held at the museum this Saturday.

April 3, 2019 | Last Updated: April 3, 2019 6:33 PM EDT

The public is being kept in the dark about changes coming to Ontario’s health care, says the Timmins organizer of a town-hall style meeting being held at the museum this Saturday.

The Ontario Health Coalition is hosting about 40 town hall meeting across the province leading up to a massive demonstration planned at Queen’s Park at the end of this month.

“The idea is to get as many people as we can speaking out and hopefully Mr. (Doug) Ford will see we have to have more consultations with this,” said Ed Stecewicz, a Timmins resident who made arrangements for the coalition to host one of those town hall meetings here.

The meeting at the Timmins Museum begins at 11 a.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Stecewicz expects many of those in attendance will be people from different health-care fields as well as local residents who want to keep Ontario’s health-care system public.

“The focus is on letting people know what is coming down with Mr. Ford’s health-care bill.”

A two-day series of public hearings regarding the legislation was carried out earlier this week in Toronto — hardly enough consultation given what is being proposed, Stecewicz added.

Traditionally, he said, when major changes to provincial services are being proposed, governments ask for input, with panels travelling around province and gathering feedback considered in final decisions.

That hasn’t happened in this instance, said Stecewicz.

For the town hall meeting taking place this Saturday, he said, “They are going to have a panel with one or two people from Ontario Health Coalition” along with MPP Gilles Bisson (NDP — Timmins) and possibly some other local health officials.

A key concern for the health coalition is Bill 74, which folds multiple health agencies, including the North East Local Health Integration Network or NE LHIN, into one super-agency.

Stecewicz said the new legislation also paves the way for more privatization.

Ontario coalitions contend this will enable super-agency appointees to transfer public and non-profit health-care services to for-profit companies.

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