QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition Health critic France Gélinas and her fellow northern NDP MPPs are pledging to stand with Northern Ontarians in opposition to Doug Ford’s scheme to privatize healthcare.
Their renewed commitment comes after poll results for the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) revealed that Northern Ontarians fear the state of our healthcare system. Poll results show 78 percent of Northern Ontario believe that our health care is in a state of crisis, while 57 percent oppose relying on a private for-profit system to solve the problem.
“People in Northern Ontario do not want for-profit health care, and OFL poll results show they believe Ford’s Conservatives could have prevented the problems we see in our public system today,” said Gélinas. “Ontarians deserve care based on their needs, not their ability to pay. Ford needs to address the problems he created in healthcare instead of starving the public funding system and opening the door wider to privatization.”
Last month, Gélinas brought forth a private member’s bill to halt the Conservatives’ effort to send more surgeries to for-profit clinics. The Health Care is Not for Sale Act would have helped prevent and punish private clinics charging unfair out-of-pocket fees covered under OHIP.
“Hospitals in Ontario continue to undergo staffing shortages and burnout, and it’s often worse in northern Ontario, where there isn’t another hospital nearby when ER closures occur,” said Gélinas. “The current system is hanging on by a thread. Children wait long hours to be treated, and I can’t imagine how infuriating it must be for parents. We need to invest more in our public health system to improve working conditions and ultimately retain and recruit new staff so they can be there for our loved ones when they need care.”
The NDP is demanding Ford invest more in healthcare workers by giving them competitive benefits and wages. Seventy-five percent of Northern Ontarians believe it is unfair to cap salaries for nurses and other health professionals at one percent when inflation is so high.
“Doug Ford’s wage-capping Bill 124 infringed on the charter rights of workers in Ontario to collectively bargain,” said Gélinas. “It was clear from the beginning that Ford’s legislation was unconstitutional and would be fought in court. The money the Conservatives wasted fighting its citizens should have been used to strengthen our healthcare system and retain our front-line workers.”