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Votes gathered to stop privatized health care

Posted: June 6, 2023

(June 5 2023)

By: Somer Slobodian, Niagra Now

The Niagara Health Coalition was one of many coalitions that participated in a citizen-run referendum against new rules for health care across the province.

The referendum was held nearly two weeks ago by the Ontario Health Coalition in response to the provincial government’s passing of Bill 60 which allows for-profit and third-party organizations to operate private clinics.

More than 50 voting stations, staffed by more than 120 volunteers, were set up across the Niagara Region.

Niagara-on-the-Lake residents had a chance to vote at the old courthouse on Queen Street and at Sparky’s Park in St. Davids on May 26 and 27.

Before the actual voting day, people had the opportunity to vote online or at other early voting locations.

In Niagara, residents had to answer two questions on the ballots.

The first question was: Do you want our public hospital services to be privatized to for-profit hospitals and clinics?

Out of the whole region, 17,123 people voted no and 404 people voted yes.

The second question was: Do you want all existing sites of the Niagara hospitals to be maintained, protected and improved without any further cuts or closures?

This question was only asked on the physical ballot and not on the online voting system.

There were 10,042 who voted yes to maintaining Naigara’s hospitals and 197 who voted no.

According to the Ontario Health Coalition’s website, more than 380,000 people across the province voted to stop the privatization of public hospitals.

The ballots were delivered to the provincial government on the morning of May 31.

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