Large Protests This Week Across Ontario in Response to Ford Government’s Health Care Privatization & Closures of Local Hospitals

TORONTO, May 27, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Raising the alarm about the urgent threat to public health care, the Ontario Health Coalition is mobilizing thousands of Ontarians to fightback 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, which 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.

  • 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.
  • Eastern Ontario:
    There will be a march and rally in Ottawa and a rally outside MPP Nolan Quinn’s office (parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health) in Cornwall. People from the region will join at one of these two locations:
    • Ottawa: Noon across the street from The Ottawa Hospital General Campus at Faircrest Heights Park (550 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON). More information TBD.
    • Cornwall: 4 p.m. outside MPP Nolan Quinn’s office, 120 Second St. W.
  • Northern Ontario:
    • Sault Ste. Marie: Noon protest and march starting at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion.
    • Thunder Bay: Noon protest at mini Queen’s Park.
    • Dryden: 11:30 a.m. CDST (Dryden time) protest outside of MPP Greg Rickford's office, 429 Government Rd.
    • North Bay: Noon, protest outside of MPP Vic Fedeli’s office, 219 Main St E.

For more information: Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition 416-230-6402 (cell).