Skip to main content

Northern cities join provincial health care protest

Share

Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay joined the Ontario Health Coalition’s protest against health care privatizations and hospital closures. Demonstrations were held at Queen’s Park, Ottawa, and other Ontario cities.

In North Bay, protesters gathered at the office of Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, while demonstrators in Sault Ste. Marie marched to MPP Ross Romano’s constituency office. Earlier this week, the Provincial Government announced $2.8 million in funding for a new nurse practitioner clinic aimed at preventing the de-rostering of more than 10 thousand patients at Group Health Centre in the Sault. Protesters there questioned why the funding took so long.

“So, the question has to be asked - why did it take you four months to come up with $2.8 million when the Provincial Government is underspending compared to other provinces, according to the Financial Accountability Office, by 15 billion?” asked Albert Dupuis of the Algoma Health Coalition. Tara Maszczakiewicz, President of the Sault Ste. Marie and District Labour Council, agrees.

“I think that it's a ‘Band-aid’ solution,” she said. “What we really need is a long term solution to overhaul our health care system in northern Ontario so it's sustainable and we can have good health care for workers, good health care for seniors, children. Everyone in northern Ontario should have the right to primary care.”

At one point, protesters entered MPP Romano’s constituency office, but he was not present. Joining the demonstration in Sault Ste. Marie was Sara Labelle, Chair of the Hospital Professionals Division of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, who points to a disconnect between Queen’s Park and Northern Ontario.

“There's this notion that in northern communities they have the same access, that there's multiple hospitals on the same street, or people can just go across town to get access or that there's multiple primary care providers in communities,” said Labelle. “That is not the case in northern Ontario. Sometimes hospitals are the only game in town, or sometimes there's only one primary care access point.”

According to the Ontario Health Coalition, more than a billion dollars in public funding has gone to private, for-profit clinics and staffing agencies over the last year – as local, public hospitals lose their emergency departments. 

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

Baseball legend Willie Mays has died at 93

Willie Mays, the electrifying 'Say Hey Kid' whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball's greatest and most beloved players, has died. He was 93.

Strange monolith pops up in Nevada desert

Jutting out of the rocks in a remote mountain range near Las Vegas, the strange monolith imitates the vast desert landscape surrounding the mountain peak where it has been erected.

Stay Connected