TORONTO – Yesterday, the Ford government announced plans to expand private, for-profit health care in Ontario. The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is calling the move, “entirely out of touch with what Ontarians want and need.”
According to polling conducted by Environics Research, nearly eight in ten Ontarians (78%) believe the Ford government should use public money to increase funding to public hospitals and clinics, so they can rebuild capacity, instead of redirecting funding to private, for-profit clinics. Six in ten Ontarians (59%) oppose more involvement by private for-profit health care providers, as a solution to the problems facing health care.
“Ontarians can clearly see that the Ford government has created a crisis to pursue their agenda of privatization,” said Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour President. “Diverting funds from our public health care system to private, for-profit surgical clinics will not solve the staffing crisis and years of underfunding that have fueled the current crisis.”
The online poll of 1,000 Ontarians found that a strong majority of people believe that private companies offering health care services will lead to richer people jumping the queue (79%) and that the Ford government is leading Ontario to two-tier health care (61%).
“Ontarians understand that the priorities of for-profit providers are simply not the same as publicly delivered health care,” added Coates. According to the poll, 81% of Ontarians believe the main objective of private for-profit health care companies is to make more money for their owners and shareholders.
Coates added, “The pandemic proved that a profit-driven approach to health care is bad for patients. Long-term care is the most haunting example, where deaths were significantly higher in for-profit homes.”
The OFL has pointed to the need for greater public funding into publicly delivered health care, and the repeal of Bill 124 as urgent measures that must be taken to address the health care crisis. Ontarians agree with these demands. Almost eight in ten (78%) support the Ontario government increasing public hospital funding to the Canadian average, even if this adds to the deficit or means higher taxes, and 70% of Ontarians oppose Bill 124.
“Enough is enough of Ford’s scheme to erode public health care for private gain,” said Coates. “Workers have lost confidence in the Ford government. We are united in the fight to defend public health care.”
The OFL will launch a new campaign on January 28. Included among the five demands of the campaign is a call to keep health care public.
This Environics Research poll was conducted online between November 29 and December 10 with a sample size of 1000. View the Opinion Survey referenced, here.
The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.
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