Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour
Ontario Health Coalition

Ontario Health Coalition

January 19, 2016 12:00 ET

Patients, Concerned Citizens and Workers Rally Outside Pre-Budget Hearings to Stop Devastating Hospital Cuts, Privatization

WINDSOR, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 19, 2016) - As MPPs from all three political parties from the Ontario Legislature traveled to Windsor for pre-budget hearings today, they were met with protests by patients, concerned residents and health care workers. The message was clear: stop the devastating cuts to - and privatization of - our local hospital services. The Ontario Legislature's Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs has heard from community advocates who have made submissions to budget hearings for almost a decade warning that the cuts are harming patients. But the government is refusing to listen. This year, local health coalitions across Ontario are staging protests outside the hearings to stop the cuts, in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Labour.

"Nine consecutive years of real-dollar cuts have plunged Ontario into the bottom of the country in hospital funding. Patients are being left on stretchers in hallways, surgeries are being cancelled and vital health services are being privatized, subject to user fees, or moved out of town," said Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition. "It is beyond time that these devastating hospital cuts and the privatization of hospital services be stopped. The Ontario government must restore our public hospital funding to at least the average of all the other provinces in Canada."

In Windsor alone, more than 86,000 hours per year of hands-on nursing care were slashed between 2013/14. Windsor's hospitals are full to overflowing, and cuts across the entire region threaten to put more pressure on Windsor's already overstretched hospitals. Just recently, Windsor Regional Hospital announced it will be cutting 166 jobs over the next year in an attempt to make up for a $20 million funding shortfall. Such a massive cut will have a major impact on patients and departments all across the hospital will be affected, including vital support services, health professionals and nursing. The RN cuts alone will equate to a quarter million hours of RN care annually at Windsor Regional.

"This is a cost-cutting measure, intended to save dollars without any concern for the needs of patients. Our hospitals are completely full, they are running at full capacity with absolutely no surplus of staff or services," said Ken Lewenza Jr., chair of the Windsor Health Coalition. "The stress being put on patients and their families is unthinkable and these cuts will inevitably harm patients and reduce patient care."

"Here in Windsor, we are seeing the effects of austerity in every community. Hospital cuts, hydro privatization, mounting student debt, precarious jobs and Canada's lowest social program funding are taking their toll in every neighbourhood," said Chris Buckley, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. "Ontarians are calling on the Wynne Government to abandon her austerity agenda and lay out a plan for restoring public services, growing our economy, expanding Ontario's revenue base and lifting standards for everyone. The next Ontario budget shouldn't be constrained by government cuts, it should create an Ontario in which everyone prospers."

www.ofl.ca, www.twitter.com/oflabour, www.Facebook.com/OFLabour

Contact Information

  • Windsor Health Coalition
    Ken Lewenza Jr.

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