At a July 3 rally in Fort Frances, VP Corinne Webb speaks to 150 members and allies about restructuring, privatization, and funding cuts.

Northwestern area VP Judy Bain and Ontario Health Coalition executive director Natalie Mehra lead a town hall healthcare meeting in Kenora, July 3.
New healthcare coalitions are now starting in both communities as a result of this great work.

Now, one year after the Doug Ford Progressive Conservatives (PCs) won last summer’s provincial election, have they delivered on their promise to enhance patient access to care? A group of local public health care activists don’t think so. They’re issuing an open invite to area residents, who support public health care to come to a community barbeque and rally on Wednesday, July 3 – 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at La Verendrye Hospital, 110 Victoria Avenue (southeast parking lot).

Health care in northwestern Ontario is under very real threat as Progressive Conservative restructuring centralizes key decision-making from communities into Thunder Bay, along with vital services like ambulance dispatch.

For hospital services, real funding cuts planned by the PC government for the next few years are, in fact, “well beyond early forecasts and especially alarming given we are overwhelmed today with a serious lack of hospital capacity,” says the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU) president Michael Hurley.  “The Progressive Conservatives are on track to deliver a patient access crisis, all the while using a massive health system restructuring to divert attention from the cuts coming to staff, beds and hospital capacity and privatization.”

Instead of “protecting what matter’s most,” the PC plans mean that hospitals are being especially targeted.

A public forum featuring Ontario Health Coalition executive director Natalie Mehra – co-sponsored by the Ontario Health Coalition and OCHU – will be held on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at Kenora’s Seven Generations Education Institute.