Cross-Ontario Homecare hearings: Three eminent panelists to gather stakeholders' input

    TORONTO, June 6 /CNW/ - Two well-respected health policy experts and the
former mayor of Ottawa will be crossing the province this month to hear from
patients, family members, seniors and advocacy groups on home care reform in
Ontario: Patricia Baranek, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health
Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto; Marion Dewar,
a public health nurse by profession, a former mayor of Ottawa and Member of
Parliament; and Carol Kushner, a health policy analyst and author will form an
expert panel that will hear from stakeholders in five communities to collect
ideas on reforming Ontario's homecare system. The panelists will use this
input to write a report, which will be submitted to the provincial government.
    The McGuinty government implemented a province-wide moratorium on
tendering homecare contracts this past January following massive public outcry
over eliminating the non-profit Victorian Order of Nurses and St. Joseph's
from the bidding process in Hamilton. Thousands protested to signal a deep
dissatisfaction with the controversial "competitive bidding" system and the
potential loss of long-standing community agencies.
    This is the second moratorium imposed by the McGuinty government.
    Our goal is to provide the full range of stakeholders the opportunity to
offer their input and to come up with some better homecare reform options,"
says Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health Coalition. "A very wide
range of groups and people concerned about homecare have responded to the call
for submissions in each town."
    "Presentations are scheduled from patients' families to policy experts,
homecare agencies to careworkers, and we are inviting the public to come out
and watch the hearings," says Cathy Carroll, Secretary-Treasurer of the
Service Employees' International Union Local 1 Canada. "The independent
panelists will create a very credible report on homecare reform and we are
looking forward to hearing the input."

    Dates and locations:  Monday, June 9          10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
                          Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, 475 Yonge Street

                          Tuesday, June 10        3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
                          Holiday Inn, 1498 Venetian Blvd

                          Wednesday, June 11      3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
                          Holiday Inn, 150 George Street

                          Thursday, June 12       3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
                          Marriott Hotel, 100 Kent Street

                          Monday, June 16         3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
                          Valhalla Inn, 1 Valhalla Inn Road
                          THUNDER BAY

    The hearings are coordinated by the Ontario Health Coalition, sponsored
by SEIU Local 1 Canada and endorsed by: Canadian Pensioners Concerned,
Toronto, Sarnia, Peterborough, Ottawa and Thunder Bay Health Coalitions, Older
Women's Network, CareWatch-Toronto, Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens'
Organizations, Alliance of Seniors/Older Canadians Network, Ontario Federation
of Union Retirees, Congress of Union Retirees Canada, SOAR, and ARM Chapter

For further information:

For further information: Natalie Mehra at (416) 441-2502 (cell)

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Ontario Health Coalition

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