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October 1, 2003

Unions to appeal decision on sale of hospitals

TORONTO - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union and allies will be appealing a court decision not to grant interim relief to stop Ernie Eves from selling off public hospitals just a day before the probable defeat of his government.

OPSEU along with the Canadian Union of Public Employees / Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE-OCHU), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) will act to protect their members, taxpayers, and the democratic process against the massive costs of privatizing the Royal Ottawa Hospital and the William Osler Health Centre in Brampton.

“These are not done deals,” said OPSEU President Leah Casselman. “But the further along we get in the process, the more difficult and expensive they will be to unravel. Let’s stop the process now, before the Eves government is able to make these billion dollar secret deals with their friends in the private sector; before Eves, Tony Clement and the Tory cabinet are consigned to the history books.”

The coalition of unions and the OHC is also continuing with the main motion, asking the court to rule that the deals contravene the Public Hospitals Act.

“We say hospitals should remain in public control. The experience in the UK is that private ownership of public hospitals is bad for patients, taxpayers and communities.”

OPSEU said it was disappointed the courts did not force timely disclosure of any of the documents in these secret deals.

“Let’s let the people decide tomorrow if they want hospitals to remain public or to be sold off to the private sector,” Casselman said. “We want to make sure any new government does not have its hands tied.”

The board of the Royal Ottawa Hospital last week signed a contract with a consortium that includes multinational corporations. Cabinet approval of this deal is expected soon.


For further information, please contact:

David Cox, OPSEU Communications, 416-788-9197


Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 100 Lesmill Rd. Toronto, ON M3B 3P8  (416) 443-8888


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