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Niagara residents to join healthcare rally at Queen's Park

The Ontario Health Coalition is mobilizing thousands of people on Thursday
Queen's Park, Queens Park, Ontario Legislature

Raising the alarm about the urgent threat to public health care, the Ontario Health Coalition is mobilizing thousands of Ontarians to fight back against the Ford government’s plan to privatize Ontario’s health care.

The list of health care services that the Ford government is trying to privatize is growing, warned the Coalition. With it, patients are being charged hundreds or even thousands of dollars in illegal user fees for access to needed medical care. Such user charges and extra billing for patients have been banned in Canada for decades, but the Ford government is doing nothing to stop the private clinics from flagrant violations of our public Medicare laws, reported the Coalition. It has tracked privatization and user fees since prior to the passage of the Canada Health Act in 1984.

Over the last year, more than a billion dollars in public funding has gone to private for-profit clinics and for-profit staffing agencies to privatize what have been, to date, public non-profit services, the Coalition reports.

At the same time, local public hospitals are losing their emergency departments, vital care services and staff, and a number are under urgent threat of closure.

Across Ontario, protests to demand a moratorium on the closure of local public hospitals and a stop to privatization of health care are planned for Thursday May 30.

Residents from all over the Niagara region are getting on the rally bus in Fort Erie and St. Catharines to join the protest in Toronto at noon.

Niagara is affected by the government’s underfunding of our hospitals. For more than 13 months, the emergency surgeries at the Welland Hospital only occur between 8 am and 4 pm weekdays and none on weekends. For the past 11 months, the urgent care centres in Fort Erie and Port Colborne only operate from 10 am to 8 pm.  Facing a deficit, our Niagara hospitals are operating at over 115% capacity and struggles to accommodate all those who need emergency care.

  • Niagara : Departure : 8:15 am Fort Erie Leisureplex

         : 9:00 am St. Catharines Go Bus station on YMCA Drive

  • Toronto: Noon between 6,000 - 10,000 people or more will converge at noon at the south side of Nathan Phillips Square on Queen and Bay Streets where there will be a kick-off rally.

The crowd will march up University Avenue to Queen’s Park where there will be a very large protest outside the Main Legislative Building on the lawn.

Approximately sixty buses will arrive from southern and mid-Ontario to the downtown core for the protest and they will be joined by thousands from Toronto and the GTA.