Thousands protest Doug Ford’s assault on public health in Ontario

According to the Ontario Health Coalition, the Ford government’s policies will see the complete restructuring of the health sector and massive cuts to the province’s health insurance plan and spending on mental health

May 04, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
The organizations demanded that Doug Ford stick to his election promise of protecting the public health system.

On April 30, thousands of people marched in Queens Park, Toronto, protesting the fund cuts announced by Ontario premier Dough Ford in the field of health care. The rally was attended by activists and sympathizers of several organizations, including the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Unifor, OPSEU, ONA, UFCW, COPE, OSSTF, USW, ETFO and SEIU Healthcare. In the rally, the organizations pledged to fight back against these policies, work with community organizations to protect and expand public health care, and oppose attempts at privatization.

According to the Ontario Health Coalition, the Ford government has unleashed a series of policies that seek to destroy public health in the province. Among these are cuts to  the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). This will force families with sick children to seek private insurance and face deductibles and co-payments on medication for their. children. Doug Ford has also allegedly planned to cut funding for mental health by more than $330 million, canceled all new planned overdose prevention sites, cut over $700,000 in funding to the College of Midwives of Ontario and cut funding for the dementia strategy Among his other moves have been a cut in provincial funding for public health by 27% and a reduction in public health units from 35 to 10. He has also introduced ‘Bill 74,’ a provision which will pave the way for the restructuring of the health system.

Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, said “Doug Ford’s government has no mandate to impose cuts and privatization of public health care. Not a word of this was breathed in the election.”

“Health care belongs to the people of Ontario. We fund it, and we have worked in our communities for a century to build our public hospitals and local health services. Mr. Ford, we are demanding that you improve it as you promised, no to cuts, privatization and mega-mergers. If you try to close down or privatize our local health care services, we will fight these in every community, every step of the way.”, she added.

Activists allege that ever since being elected in 2018, Doug Ford’s policies in  sectors such as local governance, social spending, workers’ rights, education and health have been characterized an assault on the public sector and the promotion of private interests.