Ontario Health Coalition

Ontario Health Coalition

April 07, 2014 15:28 ET

More than 56,000 Ontarians vote to stop the dismantling of community hospitals in volunteer-led referendum: Health Coalition

Ontarians "passionate" about stopping the contracting out of their local public hospital services to private clinics

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 7, 2014) - Over the last two and a half weeks, hundreds of volunteers with the Ontario Health Coalition have opened public voting stations to collect opinions about the government's plan to cut services from local community hospitals and contract them out to high-volume private clinics. Ontario residents were invited to vote for one of the following statements:

  • I support our local public hospitals. I do not want the government to cut our services or contract them out to private clinics.
  • I support cutting services from our local public hospitals and contracting them out to private clinics.

On Saturday, April 5, more than 100 voting stations were staffed by volunteers in stores and local businesses in towns and cities across Ontario. Ballot boxes were taken to churches and faith institutions, legions, and service clubs. In the two weeks leading into the street votes on April 5, more than 200 workplace votes were held in auto plants, manufacturing companies, hospitals, pharmacies, schools and many more. Over the last month, thousands of volunteers have taken leaflets door-to-door in towns and cities in every region of Ontario.

Results of the Volunteer-led "Referendum"

  • 56,005 votes were cast in total.
  • 55,767 voted in favour of supporting local public hospitals and stopping the private clinics.
  • 107 voted for private clinics.
  • 131 spoiled ballots.
  • More than 400,000 leaflets on the issue were distributed door-to-door and at mall tables, farmers' markets and in workplaces across Ontario over the last four weeks.
  • More than 200 workplace votes were held.
  • More than 100 voting stations were open from Thunder Bay to Windsor to Peterborough and in between for the street votes on Saturday.

"I don't see how the government can ignore more than 56,000 Ontarians who in two short weeks voted to stop the private clinics," said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. "We tried to create a democratic forum so that people could choose whether or not they wanted private clinics and have their say. We were overwhelmed by the response. People have been emailing and calling us all weekend demanding to have a chance to vote to protect their local hospitals. Almost no one is in favour of private clinics."

"We went to the mall and every day we got hundreds of votes," said Felicia Fahey, co-chair of the Sudbury Health Coalition. "Of 800 votes at this one voting station, only two voted for private clinics. People couldn't vote fast enough to save our local public hospitals. This is an issue that everyone is passionate about."

"I went to a private clinic and they tried to charge me money for services," said Trish McAuliffe, co-chair of the Durham Health Coalition. "The government's plan to cut our local public hospital services and contract them out to private clinics is a threat to single-tier public health care. People are deeply opposed about the government's plans."

Background

After learning that the Ontario government plans to cut local public hospital services and contract them out to private clinics, the Ontario Health Coalition met with government officials to raise serious concerns about private clinics charging user fees to patients, quality & safety issues, inappropriate billings, poor governance structures, worsening of staffing shortages in hospitals, destabilization of hospital budgets and the impact on patients who will have to travel further to high-volume centres for services. The government would not stop the private clinics plan, though it has an easy solution of setting up such clinics under the public governance of local hospitals. So the Ontario Health Coalition working with thousands of volunteers has organized a volunteer-led cross-province referendum.

Since mid-March, concerned individuals have distributed leaflets door-to-door, in local community agencies, in businesses and churches and temples. Over the last two-weeks, advance polls have been held in workplaces, businesses, schools and universities. Voting stations in local businesses were open on Saturday in cities across Ontario.

Regional Results

Votes were received from all across Ontario. Vote tallies for specific towns are as follows:

  • Chatham Kent - 735 for public hospitals
  • Durham - more than 1,100 for public hospitals.
  • Guelph - 865 for public hospitals; 2 for private clinics; 2 spoiled ballots
  • Hamilton - 1,437 for public hospitals, 2 spoiled ballots
  • Kitchener-Waterloo - 2,968 for public hospitals; 5 for private clinics
  • London - 8,164 for public hospitals; 16 for private clinics; 64 spoiled ballots
  • Niagara - 2,039 for public hospitals
  • Ottawa - 1,829 for public hospitals; 4 for private clinics
  • Peterborough - 4,596 for public hospitals; 2 for private clinics; 3 spoiled ballots
  • Sarnia - more than 1,500 for public hospitals
  • St. Marys - more than 450 for public hospitals
  • Sudbury - 5,157 for public hospitals; 13 for private clinics; 11 spoiled ballots
  • Thunder Bay - 1,890 for public hospitals
  • Windsor - 11,511 for public hospitals; 55 for private clinics; 29 spoiled ballots

These results are in addition to thousands of votes from all over Ontario including the following communities:

GTA Goderich Elmira Elgin
Ajax Halliburton Harrow Hawkesbury
Aurora Harriston Ingersoll Inverary
Brampton Huntsville Inniskillin Kemptville
Etobicoke Janetville Kitchener-Waterloo Lanark
Maple Kawartha Lakes Leamington Lancaster
Markham Kincardine Listowel Madoc
Mississauga Kippen London Manotick
Newmarket Kirkfield New Hamburg Martintown
Oshawa Lindsay Oldcastle Parham
Pickering Midland Port Lambton Perth
Scarborough Millbank Port Stanley Portland
Toronto Mindon Ridgetown Prescott
Vaughan Mitchell Sarnia Pembroke
Whitby Mount Forest Strathroy Smiths Falls
Mount Hope St. Marys Tamworth
Central East Omemee Stratford
Baltimore Orangeville Seaforth North
Baileyboro Orillia Tecumseh Balmertown
Bewdley Oro-Medonte Thamesville Blind River
Campbellford Oshawa Thedford Cache Bay
Carrying Place Owen Sound Tilbury Chelmsford
Erinsville Palmerston Tilsonburg Crystal Falls
Fraserville Penatenguishene Vittoria Dowling
Hampton Phelpston Wallaceburg Dryden
Grafton Pickering Watford Garson
Kendal Port Hope West Lorne Gorham
Lakefield Port Perry Windsor Hayleybury
Orono Princeville Woodstock Hilton Beach
Roseneath Reaboro Hornepayne
Trenton Rockwood Hamilton-Niagara Iroquois Falls
Picton Scarborough Ancaster Kenora
Selwyn Beamsville Levack
Central & Central West Shelburne Binbrook Lively
Ontario South Bruce Brantford Madsen
Ajax Tiny Dundas Mattawa
Arthur Whitby Fonthill Nakina
Ashburne Whitney Fort Erie Nipigon
Beaverton Wiarton Hamilton North Bay
Barrie Wilberforce Niagara-on-the-Lake Onaping
Bayfield Woolwich Niagara Falls Richard's Landing
Blackstock Guelph Paris Red Lake
Burk's Falls Port Colborne St. Charles
Bracebridge Southwest Oakville Sault Ste. Marie
Bruce Mills Amherstburg St. Catharines Sioux Lookout
Caledonia Beachville Smithville Sturgeon Falls
Cargill Belle River Virgil Sudbury
Chesley Blenheim Welland Swastika
Cobourg Brigden Terrace Bay
Coboconk Brightsgrove East Thessalon
Collingwood Brussels Alexandria Thornton
Cranbrook Camlachie Almonte Thunder Bay
Eden Mills Chatham Athens Timmins
Ethel Corunna Brockville Val Caron
Fergus Courtright Belleville
Fordwick Dresden Carleton Place
Gadshill Egmondville Cornwall

Contact Information

  • Ontario Health Coalition
    Natalie Mehra
    Executive Director
    416-230-6402 (cell)

    Ontario Health Coalition
    Kim Johnston
    Director of Campaigns
    647-381-7025 (cell)
    416-441-2502 (office)

    Ontario Health Coalition
    francais Sue Hotte
    905-932-1646

    Ontario Health Coalition
    416-441-2502
    ohc@sympatico.ca
    www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca