TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 2, 2017) -

Attn: Assignment Editor

What: The Ontario Health Coalition is taking a giant7-foot tall teddy bear with the slogan "We Can't Bear to Lose Medicare" to 20 towns from late May to mid -June to raise awareness about the threat of health care privatization. In each town there will be a media event with leafletting and public discussion.

The Issue: Health Coalitions are issuing a friendly but serious warning: We Can't "Bear" to Lose Medicare, to raise awareness of the threat of health care privatization. Private for-profit clinics are pushing to privatize services from our local public hospitals. Patients, often elderly, are shocked to find out that private clinics are charging user fees amounting to hundreds or even thousands of dollars for medically-needed care such as cataract surgeries. In provinces such as B.C. and Quebec, private clinics and extra user fees for patients have become a major problem. In B.C. private clinics have even launched a court challenge to bring down the laws that protect patients from user fees. The Ontario Health Coalition will raise funds along the way to help the B.C. Health Coalition intervene in the legal challenge brought by the private for-profit clinics, which threatens public health care all across Canada.

"Canada's public health care system is under threat by private profits-seeking clinics that want to be able to bill OHIP for tests and surgeries and bill patients hundreds or even thousands of dollars as well" said Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition. "User fees for medically-needed hospital and physician care are unlawful under the Canada Health Act. We are drawing attention to this, explaining to patients their rights, and pushing back against the takeover of non-profit and public hospitals by private for-profit corporations."

Hamilton May 30, 12 p.m. Corner of King & James downtown.
Ottawa June 5, 10:30 a.m. Byward Market, S/W corner of George & William Sts.
Cornwall June 5, 2:30 p.m. N/E corner of Pitt and Second Sts.
Brockville June 6, 9:30 a.m. Outside City Hall King & Market Sts.
Kingston June 6, 12:00 p.m. Outside LaSalle Mews, Princess St. (Outside MP Sophie Kiwala's office).
Cobourg June 6, 7:00 p.m. Northumberland Mall at the N. end of parking lot on the grass (public land 1111 Elgin St.)
Peterborough June 7, 10:00 a.m. Downtown farmer's market, Charlotte St. between George and Aylmer St. N.
Oshawa June 7, 3 p.m. Park across from hospital, 1 Hospital Ct.
Brampton June 8, 12 p.m. In front of Town Hall, 2 Wellington St.
Kitchener June 8, 3:30 p.m. In front of City Hall, 200 King St.
Windsor June 9, 10:30 a.m. outside City Hall, 400 City Hall Sq.
Chatham June 9, 2:30 p.m. King St and the 5th St Bridge.
Wallaceburg June 10, 10:00 a.m. Fountain Park at intersection of Dufferin Ave., James St and McNaughton Bridge.
Sarnia June 10, 1:00 p.m. Waterfront Park, by the bridge.
St. Marys June 11, 10:30 a.m. Outside Town Hall, 184 Queen St. E.
Stratford June 11, 1:30 p.m. Upper Queen's Park by the Festival Theatre.
Woodstock June 11, 4:30 p.m. Outside City Hall Dundas & Reeve Sts.
St. Catharines June 12, 10:30 a.m. Old Court House Parkette at 101 King St (corner of James & King Sts).
Fort Erie June 12, 2:00 p.m. Douglas Park across Douglas Memorial Hospital -230 Bertie St.
Thunder Bay June 14, 1:00 p.m .- City Hall - 500 Donald St E.

Contact Information:

Peter Boyle
Tour Spokesperson
(613) 539-3622

Edgar Godoy
(416) 441-2502