Our communities have spent a hundred years fundraising & volunteering to support our local public hospitals & build services closer to home. On January 16, Premier Doug Ford announced plans to take thousands of surgeries & diagnostic tests out of our local public hospitals and privatize them to for-profit hospitals & clinics. At any time, this would be devastating to our community hospitals. Currently, with our hospitals desperately short-staffed, this will take vital nurses, health professionals, doctors, and the funding for them away from our public hospitals and transfer them to for-profit clinics and hospitals, leaving our community hospitals with fewer staff, fewer services and fewer resources. Without question, this is the privatization of the core services of our local public hospitals.
There is another option. Virtually every community hospital in Ontario has operating rooms that are closed down in evenings, on weekends, for weeks or months each year or even permanently. We have the operating rooms. Our public hospitals simply do not have the funding and support to staff them. Ontario is dead last in Canada in funding our public hospitals. We have the lowest funding of any province in the country and the fewest nurses per patient anywhere in Canada. Even if our government funded our hospitals to the average of the rest of Canada, we would clear the backlogs and wait lists for surgeries and diagnostic tests in our local public hospitals.
We organized a citizen-led community opinion vote, like a public referendum at the end of May 2023. We asked Ontarians to vote whether or not they want our local public hospitals’ services to be privatized to for-profit hospitals and clinics. The referendum was held in community voting stations, at tables staffed by volunteers outside -- or if appropriate inside -- local businesses, coffee shops, busy stores, service clubs, places of worship, legions and as many places as possible, measuring public opinion on the plan to cut and privatize our local public hospitals’ services.