TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2019 /CNW/ - Ontario's largest union in the private sector expresses deep concern for the proposed amalgamation of healthcare oversight and delivery into an unaccountable partisan agency.
"First, Minister Elliot claimed that this bill didn't exist. Now, this secret agency is just as damning in the light of day as it was when public sector whistle-blowers first released it," said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. "Workers see this agency for what it is: an attempt to bring in privatization through the backdoor and reward the Conservatives' corporate friends."
If adopted, the bill will shift decisions about more than $60 billion of Ontario's public spending and healthcare delivery to a small board of unelected, partisan appointees.
The new agency would have recklessly far-reaching powers including funding, coordinating and managing Ontario's entire healthcare system. This includes the power to order closures, transfers mergers of all health care providers and of healthcare employees and their work.
In a government briefing on Tuesday, February 26, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care employees announced that the process for creating Health Teams is already scheduled to begin in March 2019 despite the bill not yet being law in Ontario.
"Healthcare is a big slice of public spending that Ford's friends in business want to take a bite of. But privatization doesn't work for healthcare. Our public dollars shouldn't be going to private profits," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "The fight against private interests in our public services will be long and hard, but Unifor will defend these services for all Ontarians."
The union is opposed to any move towards privatizing public delivery of healthcare, including previously leaked plans to of widespread outsourcing of vital services including inspections, laboratories, licensing, devices and Ornge.
Unifor represents more than 26,000 members in the health care sector including paramedics at Ornge responsible for air and ground patient care and medical transport.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 162,800 workers in Ontario, in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: Contact Sarah McCue, Unifor National Communications Representative at 416-458-3307 (cell) or [email protected]