June 6, 2024
OCHU/CUPE announces rallies to protest Ford government’s expansion of private, for-profit clinics
TORONTO – The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) blasted the government’s plan to further privatize the delivery of MRIs and CT scans through for-profit clinics, and announced a series of rallies at Ontario PC MPP offices by union members and community allies across the province for this summer.

“The Ontario PCs are funnelling more money to private clinics that are openly violating the Canada Health Act,” said Michael Hurley, president of OCHU/CUPE. “It’s bad enough that the Ford government is underfunding public health care, but now we have patients being price gouged for medically necessary services, and for-profit clinics openly advertising private pay services with no consequences.”

Hurley pointed to a recent Ontario Health Coalition report that found private, for-profit clinics engaging in unlawful billing practices, including upselling patients. The Health Coalition found that some patients had been charged up to $8,000 for procedures that should have been covered by OHIP.

The union is also concerned about private clinics burdening the public purse, with a CBC investigation discovering that privately delivered surgeries are about two to three times more costly than the same procedures performed in public hospitals.

Last year, OCHU/CUPE and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report on privatization of hospital services in Ontario, which included data showing worse outcomes in private hospitals and clinics.

“They have higher death rates than public hospitals, are far more expensive, and they poach staff away from the public system,” said Hurley.

He said the clear solution is for improvements to public health care, which has been chronically underfunded and continues to be under resourced with the majority of Ontario hospitals reporting fiscal deficits in recent years.

“If the government’s intention is to clear the backlog of MRIs and CT scans, it should be focusing on the under-utilisation of hospital operating rooms on evenings and weekends,” said Sharon Richer, secretary-treasurer of OCHU/CUPE.

The OCHU/CUPE rallies will kick off on July 8 in Stratford. Protests are planned at MPP offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Oshawa, North Bay, and Peterborough among other cities.

“We will mobilize thousands of our members and people in our communities, protesting the disastrous path this government has chosen to pad the pockets of its rich investor friends and party donors, at the expense of our public hospitals which are being starved of funding and facing record deficits,” Richer said.

OCHU rallies at Ontario PC MPP offices in July 2024

July 8: Matthew Rae’s office, 55 Lorne Ave E, Stratford
July 10: Michael Ford’s office, 1832 Weston Rd, Toronto
July 11: Patrice Barnes’s office, 230 Westney Rd S, Ajax
July 15: Victor Fedeli’s office, 219 Main St E, North Bay
July 16: Ross Romano’s office, 390 Bay St, Sault Ste. Marie
July 18: Greg Rickford’s office, 610 Lakeview Dr, Kenora
July 22: Lisa MacLeod’s office, 250 B Greenbank Rd, Ottawa
July 24: Neil Lumsden’s office, 115 Hwy 8, Hamilton
July 25: Steve Clark’s office, 9 Broad St, Brockville
July 29: Peter Bethlenfalvy’s office, 1550 Kingston Rd, Pickering
July 30: Dave Smith’s office, 864 Chemong Rd, Peterborough

For more information contact:

Zaid Noorsumar | CUPE Communications