MEDIA ADVISORY: Ford government plans unprecedented for-profit privatization of health care: Health Coalitions across the province hold summits to fight privatization and protect public health care services

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


TORONTO, March 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ford government is engaging in unprecedented health care privatization, says the Ontario Health Coalition. Recently, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced plans to expand private for-profit clinics and hospitals in Ontario. The Ford government is midway in allocating more than 18,000 long-term care beds to for-profit companies in 30-year contracts unless we stop them; the majority going to the same companies responsible for thousands of deaths and horrific conditions – in fact the highest death rates – in the pandemic. Despite many repeated announcements, Ford has not reinstated comprehensive inspections nor improved care levels in long-term care, has not addressed the staffing crisis across health care, and has plans for years of budget austerity after the election. It doesn’t stop there. Ford is privatizing the last remaining public parts of home care. His government has strictly curtailed access to public COVID testing while at the same time contracting for-profit clinics to do testing, has privatized COVID vaccinations, and is allowing those private for-profit testing clinics to charge patients up to $400 for COVID tests.

Health Coalitions across Ontario are holding Emergency Summits across Ontario by Zoom to build the biggest fight-back we have ever mounted. Our goal is to protect and improve our vital public health care services and stop the unprecedented for-profit privatization of health care. The Ontario Health Coalition, a non-partisan public watchdog for health care, intends to set the threat to our public health care as a key election issue and push all political parties to make commitments to safeguard public health care, stop privatization and address the urgent needs to improve care and staffing.

We are expecting large crowds at each Emergency Summit. Media are welcome.

When: See listing below, advance registration is required. Upon registering you will be sent a Zoom link.

Tuesday March 29
Durham Health Coalition at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZItdeigqzgoGdD5Jq9xtAjHXDrPEgKl48Ij

Featuring: Pam Parks, nurse, co-chair, Durham Health Coalition
Lance Livingstone, co-chair, Durham Health Coalition
Linda McQuaig, journalist and best-selling author about corporate elites and public policy
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Michael Hurley, president, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE
DJ Sanderson, RN, vice president, Ontario Nurses’ Association

For more information: Lance Livingstone at (905) 431-0823 or koach_14@yahoo.com, Pam Parks at bbgoodday01@yahoo.ca

Wednesday March 30
Windsor Health Coalition at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMufuutrjgtE9VQM_UZyWCuqXM4BTqO2ZvU

Featuring:  Tracey Ramsey, co-chair, Windsor Health Coalition
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Maureen O’Halloran, RN, staff representative for health care at COPE
DJ Sanderson, RN, vice president, Ontario Nurses’ Association
Katha Fortier, nurse, assistant to the president, Unifor
Dr. Nancy Olivieri, prominent haematologist, researcher, whistleblower, champion of patient safety and research integrity

For more information: Tracey Ramsey at 519-995-0239 or traceyramsey200@gmail.com

Thursday March 31
Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough Health Coalitions along with Haliburton Kawartha Lakes LTC Coalition at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://utoronto.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtdeGuqzguEtyOQ4uoxK-kQd2ikfZqk1JJ

Featuring: Roy Brady, co-chair, Peterborough Health Coalition
Zac Miller, co-chair Kawartha Lakes Health Coalition
Bonnie Roe, Haliburton Kawartha Lakes Long-Term Care Coalition
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Dr. Jasmine Gite, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
Michael Hurley, president, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE
Randy Robinson, Ontario director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

For more information: Zac Miller at (289) 356-7537 or zac.miller1900@gmail.com

Thursday March 31
Northumberland Health Coalition along with Health Coalition representatives in Quinte at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEldu2spjIjHtS4njIQnMdjKQwBm4at9Dxd

Featuring: Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas, chair, Northumberland Health Coalition
Marg Bourgoin, representative of the Health Coalition in Quinte
Ross Sutherland, retired nurse, chair, Ontario Health Coalition
Sara Labelle, chair of the Hospital Professionals Division, OPSEU
DJ Sanderson, RN, vice president, Ontario Nurses’ Association

For more information: Linda MacKenzie-Nicholas at lmackenzie-nicholas@cogeco.ca

Saturday April 2
Oxford Coalition for Social Justice at 10:30 am
Register in advance: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkde-pqD8sG934d81YAQnc6-e8sO9WuEx9?_x_zm_rtaid=E-_L6QBjQ1-rdvgA5BYF9Q.1646751173502.f741b2a62368d1983322e830f77b5873&_x_zm_rhtaid=237

Featuring: Bryan Smith, chair, Oxford Health Coalition
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Linda McQuaig, journalist and best-selling author about corporate elites and public policy
Randy Robinson, Ontario director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

For more information: Bryan J. Smith at (226) 228-8309 or bryasmit@oxford.net

Sunday April 3
Guelph District Health Coalition at 1:00 pm
Register in advance: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZctdeGvpzstHNF70hPwZZJGVHSJ7eNQM3M7

Featuring:  Brit Hancock, co-chair, Guelph District Health Coalition
Barb Hogg, co-chair, Guelph District Health Coalition
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Michael Hurley, president, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE
Randy Robinson, Ontario director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

For more information: Brit Hancock at Guelphdistricthealthcoalition@gmail.com

Monday April 4
Niagara Health Coalition at 7 pm
Register in advance: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYufu2trDMjEtC30A-53SFKJ36vzSw0bv56

Featuring:  Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
DJ Sanderson, RN, vice president, Ontario Nurses’ Association
Sandra Ashcroft, RN, UFCW
Dr. Yipeng Ge, Canadian Doctors for Medicare

For more information: Natalie Mehra at 416-230-6402 or ohc@sympatico.ca

Tuesday April 5
Waterloo Regional Health Coalition at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUtduCrrD0jGdxlJl99AZkJYwScbwM8e8S0

Featuring: Jim Stewart, chair, Waterloo Region Health Coalition
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
DJ Sanderson, RN, vice president, Ontario Nurses’ Association
Roch Longueepee, patient advocate
Zaid Noorsumar, journalist and investigative researcher

For more information: Jim Stewart at (519) 588-5841 or waterlooregionhealthcoalition@gmail.com

Wednesday April 6
London Health Coalition at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYkceytrjksGtYDTpG1zBA8nhDHoMfedHUX

Featuring: Peter Bergmanis, co-chair, London Health Coalition
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Maureen O’Halloran, RN, staff representative for health care at COPE
Dr. Nancy Olivieri, prominent haematologist, researcher, whistleblower, champion of patient safety and research integrity
Dr. Genevieve Eastabrook, assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Schulich School of Medicine, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, LHSC

For more information: Peter Bergmanis at (519) 860-4403 or pbergmanis@rogers.com

Thursday April 7
Chatham-Kent, Wallaceburg-Walpole Island, Sarnia Lambton Health Coalitions at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkcu2vqTssHdZiB98B-A2L3HGmONZ8ygBh?_x_zm_rtaid=E-_L6QBjQ1-rdvgA5BYF9Q.1646751173502.f741b2a62368d1983322e830f77b5873&_x_zm_rhtaid=237

Featuring: Shirley Roebuck, June Weiss, Judy Wolanski, co-chairs, Local Area Health Coalitions
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Linda McQuaig, journalist and best-selling author about corporate elites and public policy
Maureen O’Halloran, RN, staff representative for health care at COPE
DJ Sanderson, RN, vice president, ONA

For more information: Shirley Roebuck at (226) 402-2724 or goddess@bell.net

Saturday April 9
Hamilton Health Coalition at 10:30 am
Register in advance: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZclduyrrzMoEtdt1x70AxqhnS_822wCsT8P

Featuring:  Janina Lebon and Rolf Gerstenberger, co-chairs, Hamilton Health Coalition
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Linda McQuaig, journalist and best-selling author about corporate elites and public policy
Michael Hurley, president, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE
Angela Preocanin, RN, first vice president, Ontario Nurses’ Association
Dr. Nancy Olivieri, prominent haematologist, researcher, whistleblower, champion of patient safety and research integrity

For more information: Janina Lebon at (905) 545-5514 or jlebon@sympatico.ca

Saturday April 9
Cornwall Health Coalition at 2:30 pm
Register in advance: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rd--vpz4tE9euLuMN6LvykaiQIannes19

Featuring: Elaine MacDonald and Louise Lanctot, co-chairs, Cornwall & District Health Coalition
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Linda McQuaig, journalist and best-selling author about corporate elites and public policy
Michael Hurley, president, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE
Dr. Bernard Ho, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
Bernadette Clement, Canadian Senator

For more information: Elaine MacDonald at (613) 330-3117 or elainemacdonald@cogeco.ca

Monday April 11
Kingston Health Coalition at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfJ4HWKC3xzVHpYyEOlkkT4wHNmAuu7wM5mHsbPRiyJFVzxUw/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0

Featuring: Joan Jardin, co-chair, Kingston Health Coalition
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Michael Hurley, president, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE
David McDonald, professor, Queen’s University Department of Global Development Studies
Dr. Dick Zoutman, former chief of staff at two major Ontario hospitals

For more information: Matthew Gventer at (613) 542-5834 or birms@kos.net, Joan Jardin at (613) 305-2716 or joanforlakeside@gmail.com

Tuesday April 12
Algoma Region Health Coalition at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlduGqpj8tEtXAogwmqqsoBw8UZN_QQGAc

Featuring: Marie DellaVedova and Albert Dupuis, spokespeople, Algoma Region Health Coalition
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Sara Labelle, chair of the hospital professionals’ division, OPSEU
Randy Robinson, Ontario director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

For more information: Al Dupuis at (613) 808-7710 or algomahc@gmail.com

Wednesday April 13
Scarborough, Toronto, York Region Health Coalitions at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMpc-yupjsuHNJ7kc80KnTsl_vwHNtUakT8

Featuring: Mary Jo Nabuurs & Carolyn Egan, representatives, Toronto & York Region Health Coalitions
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
Dr. Dick Zoutman, former chief of staff at two major Ontario Hospitals
Michelle Jones, long-term care advocate
Dr. Yipeng Ge, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
Michael Hurley, president, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE

For more information: Natalie Mehra at 416-230-6402 or ohc@sympatico.ca

Tuesday April 19
Burlington, Halton, Oakville Health Coalition at 7:00 pm
Register in advance: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlce2rpjMtGtz-8cKEBMK_scj0FvOhuJFf

Featuring: Mervyn Russell, chair, Burlington, Halton, Oakville Health Coalition
Sandra Caleta, founder, Advocates for LTC Reform
Dr Gordon Guyatt, distinguished professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University and board member, Ontario Health Coalition
Sandra Ashcroft, RN, UFCW
Dr. Nancy Olivieri, prominent haematologist, researcher, whistleblower, champion of patient safety and research integrity

For more information: Mervyn Russell at (905) 845-3250 or mervynrussell1003@gmail.com

For more information:
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition 416-230-6402 or ohc@sympatico.ca