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Sault Ste. Marie news: Protestors worried about the privatization of health care in Ontario

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Protests were held across the province Tuesday opposing what critics described as plans to privatize health care in Ontario.

Held by the Ontario Health Coalition, organizers said the Ford government’s Bill 60 would bring back a two-tier health care system.

Representatives took aim at the bill, which is expected to pass this week.

“That bill is allowing a lot of hospital procedures, diagnostics, and surgeries to be moved out of public hospitals, and into what are being called independent health facilities,” said Marie DellaVedova of the Coalition.

“They are, in fact, private hospitals and clinics.”

“We have experience with private clinics all around Canada, and all kinds of problems,” added another coalition member, Al Dupuis.

“We’ve got doctors and clinics offering patients the option to jump the queue by paying extra. We also have them double billing or extra billing.”

In response, the Ministry of Health provided this statement:

“Ontarians will always access our health care system with their OHIP card, not their credit card … Our government knows wait times for surgeries and diagnostic tests have been increasing year after year.

“This is why our government launched ‘Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care,’ which includes our plan to eliminate the surgical backlog and reduce wait times.”

Dupuis said he doesn’t believe it.

“They don’t need to do that to clear the backlogs,” he said.

“All they need to do is open the operating rooms that are closed early in the day, or not functioning on weekends. They need to fund them and staff them.”

The Coalition is mounting a community-run referendum across the provinces by voting May 26-27.

They plan on having more than a thousand voting stations set up asking people if they want public hospital services to be privatized.

The results will be brought to Queen’s Park.