OPSEU, CUPE and Ontario Health Coalition launch court action to stop stop hospital privatization
TORONTO – the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) filed a court action today to halt the privatization of hospitals in Ottawa, Brampton and Toronto.
“Ernie Eves has no mandate and no legal authority to privatize these hospitals,” says CUPE National President Judy Darcy. “The government is recklessly moving to ram through these deals in their dying days and we’re calling on the courts to put a stop to them.”
“The government is rushing to sell assets over the next several days because they don’t want their bad decisions undone,” says OPSEU President Leah Casselman. “After Walkerton and Aylmer, Eves should let the people decide whether or not they want more public services privatized.”
The government of Ontario is moving quickly to sign over control of the Royal Ottawa Hospital and the William Osler Hospital in Brampton to multinational corporations looking to profit from owning and operating hospitals. Similar schemes are in the works for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, and a number of other hospitals across the province.
The unions and the OHC are asking the Ontario Divisional Court to rule that the government is contravening the Public Hospitals Act in approving these privatization deals. They are also seeking an order quashing any approvals that Health Minister Tony Clement may have given already.
“The Conservatives have been very secretive about the details of these plans, trying to pull another fast one on the people of Ontario,” warns OPSEU president Leah Casselman. “We’re also calling on the government of Ontario to freeze all asset sales, divestments and other deals until the people make their decision on Election Day.”
“The government is modeling its hospital privatization plans on controversial, and now failed, privatization schemes in Britain,” says Natalie Mehra, coordinator of the Ontario Health Coalition. “We know from the British experience, there are record profits to be made by the corporations, but we also know that patients, taxpayers and communities will pay the price. Private hospitals lead to bed shortages, longer waiting lists and higher death rates.”
“We saw with Hydro One that this government is so desperate to sell off public assets to their business cronies, they’re willing to ride roughshod over the law,” says Darcy. “Now they’re trying to do it with our health care system. Well we’re here today on behalf of all the residents of this province to say no.”
CUPE was part of a successful court challenge 18 months ago to block the Conservative government’s sale of Hydro One. A backgrounder and summary of today’s legal application is also available.
“The Eves government should not be allowed to proceed with these privatization schemes, especially when we’re less than two weeks away from an election that may very well throw them out of office,” says Mehra.
For further information, please contact
Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 100 Lesmill Rd. Toronto, ON M3B 3P8 (416) 443-8888 www.opseu.org
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