Health care professionals and support staff rally Ontarians to stand up for

TORONTO, Nov. 30 /CNW/ - Health care professionals and support staff represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) are asking the public to take a few minutes to support their local hospital.

For months the Ontario government has been suggesting a funding freeze is likely for more than 150 public hospitals across the province. This comes at a time when hospitals are already under great stress and crowding from the H1N1 pandemic.

"Our hospitals are operating at capacity," says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the 130,000 member public sector union. "A freeze will result in tremendous layoffs and cuts to hospital care. Illness and injury don't wait for the effects of a recession to end."

Representing more than 30,000 health care workers, OPSEU is urging the public to contact their MPP through an innovative new web site that will allow Ontarians to quickly customize their own e-mail letter to local MPPs, the health minister, premier and opposition health critics.

"While we are sponsoring this campaign, the web site is intended to directly connect constituents and their MPPs," says Thomas. "OPSEU will have a record of how many messages have been sent, but not the specific content of those messages."

With 38 per cent of Ontario hospitals operating in deficit, a freeze would effectively translate into a cut of about three to four per cent. Zero funding does not take into consideration rising costs, such as increased use by an aging population, drug and equipment costs, growing demand from an increased population and existing contract obligations.

After years of underfunding, 38 per cent of Ontario Hospital finished last year in deficit despite legislation that requires balanced budgets.

The public can make a customized letter by going to


For further information: For further information: Greg Hamara at (647) 238-9933

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