Health privatization bill passes, receives Royal Assent in December

Bill 138, which allows for the privatization of the healthcare supply chain, which it defines to include clinical and support services, passed in the Ontario legislature before the holidays and received Royal assent almost immediately afterwards.

A provincial leadership teleconference call to talk about how we will respond to any initiative to privatize healthcare support or clinical services will take place on January 29 at 7 p.m. EST.

Any proposal to contract out or privatize clinical or support services in healthcare will be met with fierce resistance.

SARS-like Coronavirus in China, Thailand, Japan

A SARS-like virus killed two in China, and there are now active cases in Thailand and Japan. The US is monitoring for the virus at major airports.

A provincial leadership teleconference call on January 29, 7 p.m. EST, will discuss this new virus.

Solidarity Pact with Local 79

OCHU signed a solidarity pact with CUPE 79, who are bargaining with the city of Toronto. It commits us to support one another in the fight against concessions, for real wage increases, and to end the exploitation of part-time and temporary employees.

OCHU calls on the province to increase hospital and long term care funding by 5.3% in 2020 budget

In its January 17 submission on the 2020 Ontario provincial budget, the OCHU/CUPE has called on the provincial government to increase the funding for hospitals and long term care facilities by 5.3%. Cuts of 15% over 5 years are planned by the PC government.

This demand was also made by the Ontario Hospital Association. It would mean an additional $900,000,000 in funding for hospitals, just so that they can meet their basic cost increases.

OCHU plans a media tour of Ontario in February and March on the issue of healthcare funding and lack of capacity. Ontario funds its hospitals and long term care facilities at the lowest level of any province.

Save North Bay addiction services

Thirty-one residential treatment beds for addiction face closure this May in North Bay. Since May, there have been 150 overdoses and 8 deaths in North Bay, which has a higher rate of addiction than southern Ontario.

Local 139 is mounting a strong campaign to keep the beds open, including a vigil held in December, and a sticker day in January.

A poll commissioned by CUPE found 74% of North Bay residents want the treatment beds to remain open.

A town hall is planned for February 19, with CUPE national president, Mark Hancock, and the Ontario Health Coalition’s executive director, Natalie Mehra. Everyone in North Bay will be called at home and asked to join.