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Stop bill 175! Workers rally across Ontario today

Pam Johnson and Sandi Mansfield

June 24, 2020

Emergency street protests and car cavalcades were held in 11 cities and at Queen’s Park on June 24 as Doug Ford’s government is set to ram through Bill 175. This bill further opens the healthcare sector to private companies. The bill will dismantle public governance and oversight for home care, privatize home and community care, expand private hospitals, bring private home care into public hospitals, and stifle lawsuits against private corporations in the healthcare business.

Workers protest at MPP Sam Oosterhoff’s office in Niagara

Despite the devastation and ongoing tragedy of pandemic deaths in long term care homes and the continuing lack of adequate staffing, basic PPE and underpaid, stressed workers in all healthcare facilities, Ford’s PC are doubling down on their privatization agenda.

The pandemic pay for front-line workers promised by Ford in April has not materialized and many front-line workers would not even be eligible. Not a single long-term care operator has been held responsible for negligence, death and devastation to families that they created.

The emergency protest was called by the Ontario Health Coalition and supported by Good Jobs for All, Green Jobs Oshawa and the Ontario Coalition of Hospital Unions.  The situation has escalated into a full-blown crisis, said Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition leader. She mentioned that BC and Quebec have both responded to understaffing at long-term care homes but that Ontario has done nothing.

CUPE, ONA, OPSEU and Steelworkers Union flags were flying on the lawn and from cars circling and honking at Queen’s Park. Protesters lined the street outside PC MPP Sam Oosterhoff’s office in Niagara and protests happened in 10 other Ontario cities. Another good sign that the pandemic is not stifling resistance, it is back on the streets!

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